Books · Craft · Excerpt · Uncategorized

National Craft Month: Fatal Brushstroke Excerpt

I hope everyone is enjoying National Craft Month as much as I am. Currently, I’m reading A Body in the Landscape by Larissa Reinhart, and this weekend I enjoyed three days of cropping at a local crop retreat sponsored by the Rotary Club. I was able to complete my daughter’s scrapbook album (a mix of pocket scrapbooking and traditional layouts) and also uploaded a bunch of pictures to Shutterfly and had them printed. I have two crops coming up in April and didn’t want to run out of photos to scrap at the events.

To continue with my monthly celebration of National Craft month is an brief excerpt from Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson.

fatal brushstrokeExcerpt: 

At home, too wired to sleep yet too tired to work, Rory pulled out the project Nora had given her and spread it out on the empty half of the kitchen table. Before painting on the final product, she wanted to practice the strokes spelling out Samantha’s name. She considered several styles of brush lettering, settling on one that was at the least elaborate end of the spectrum.

Rory drew guidelines on practice paper with a soft pencil, then loaded a flat brush with a fifty-fifty mixture of black acrylic paint and water. After painting the three strokes necessary to produce a capital S, she reviewed her work. She hadn’t lifted her brush quickly enough at the end of each stroke to produce the sharp edges she desired. She tried again, this time writing the full name several times, concentrating on correcting the strokes and keeping the spacing between the letters consistent. After covering two pages with the name, she gave up for the evening, still unhappy with the result. Her hands were too shaky from lack of sleep to produce the letters to her satisfaction.


A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep…

Computer programmer and tole painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn’t envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even rarer.

Suspicion falls on Rory when the body buried in her flowerbed turns out to be someone she knows—her tole painting teacher, Hester Bouquet. Just two weeks before, Rory attended one of Hester’s weekend seminars, an unpleasant experience she vowed never to repeat. As evidence piles up against Rory, she embarks on a quest to identify the killer and clear her name. Can Rory unearth the truth before she encounters her own brush with death?

Right now, Fatal Brushstroke is on sale for 99 cents, and I don’t know how long the sale will last.



Craft · Everyday Life · West Virginia

West Virginia Craft Week – October 2-11, 2015

WV-Craft-Week-LogoThis is the first year West Virginia is having a craft week, and I’m so excited. (I know that time period equals more than a week, but it’s the official date for the event.) It’s so great to see artisans being celebrated across West Virginia, and the event is also happening in other parts of the US. There are many events around the state where you can get a glimpse at the crafting process and meet some of the artisans in your area. The Tamarack Foundation has a wonderful list of some of the events taking place in West Virginia. Artisan Events in WV.

It’s a great time to find beautiful, unique handcrafted items for your home, as gifts, and you might see a craft demonstration that you’ll introduce you to your new hobby. I already found a place, somewhat local to me, that’s offering knitting classes. I’ve always wanted to knit, and this is the perfect week to find the information as it’s sign of encouragement for me to try a new craft.

This weekend, I plan on attending the Burlington Apple Harvest (as long as it doesn’t get rained out due to Hurricane Joaquin). I look forward to this event every year. It has a great mix of crafters, vendors, wonderful food, and an awesome flea market section. The first thing I always do is look at all the handcrafted items and put together my buy list. After doing my craft shopping, it’s time for a trip back to the car to load up my purchases before getting an apple dumpling and either chili or barbecue chicken. And my day wouldn’t be complete without browsing around the flea market area where I’ll find more handcrafted items, last year I redecorated my new kitchen last year with cute themed towels, Disney memorabilia to add to my collection, and this year I’m on the lookout for picture frames made from recycled wood.

To celebrate the first day of Craft Week, I’ll share some pictures of a few of my favorite projects. Now that I spent some time browsing my handcrafted item pictures, I want to craft. Instead, I must get to my other creative outlet–writing–and work on Scrap This mysteries number 5. (still debating between titles)

2015-06-05 10.35.08
Disney autograph book
cruise 2012 up
A layout of my children parasailing.
2014-10-28 19.14.47
A card I made for a very helpful friend.
Midnight dreary
A framed quote I made for an auction.
Books · Excerpt · Scrapbooking · West Virginia

Celebrating Valentine’ Day: A Little Romance from Cropped to Death

Today, I’m wrapping up my celebration of Valentine’s Day with excerpts from my Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series published by Henery Press. The first one is from Cropped to Death.

Cropped to Death:

Blurb: Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder, and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence.

So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.

CROPPED front smExcerpt:

At least I didn’t think so. I didn’t want anyone control-ling or managing my life for me. I’d make my own decisions, good and bad. I needed support, not advice. Well-meaning or not.

“I won’t be used.” Steve walked around the desk and stood behind his office chair, the desk a barrier between us.

“I’m not…” The remainder of the sentence stuck in my throat. The intensity in Steve’s fathomless brown eyes rendered me silent.

He leaned forward, never breaking eye contact. “Your grandmothers raved about you and I was intrigued. When I saw you the first time, I knew I wanted to get to know you better. But you were reserved, leery of me and everyone else, except for Cheryl and Hope. I didn’t know why, but I knew you needed space. I respected that.”

“I appreciated that.”

For the first few months, he treaded carefully around me and my grandmothers, not wanting to force himself into my life. It was hard as my grandmothers had depended on him for so long and he was a part of their life. I liked having a hot guy around. He was wonderful to look at and having my grandmothers’ focus on him gave me the breathing room I needed.

He offered friendship. I accepted it. Even added in some harmless flirting. It was nice knowing a handsome man found me attractive. Steve was safe. He never crossed the line I drew, which was both disappointing and a huge relief.

“I apologize for overstepping your boundaries,” Steve said. “I never intended for my concern to come across as controlling. Your grandmothers wanted you safe. I wanted you safe, and like most males, figured if physical harm came from your investigating, I could handle that better than you.”

“I know you meant well.” I twisted my fingers in the hem of my shirt. Steve and I never had a conversation like this. We hinted around about our feelings and joked with each other. I wasn’t sure how I felt about laying it all out like this. Or at least Steve doing it. My contribution so far was clichéd one-liners.

“I want you to need me, Faith, because you need me. I want you to want me, Faith, because you want me.”

“I don’t think you understand me,” I croaked out. “I want you in my life. Need you.”

With each word I said, Steve walked closer. “I don’t think you understand me.”

Steve wrapped an arm around my back and pulled me closer. His mouth settled over mine. Shocked, I remained still except for my trembling knees, threatening not to hold up my weight. Not a real problem as one of Steve’s arms tightened around me while the other hand trailed up my back and cupped the back of my head.

My hands inched their way from his chest, to his shoulders, then clasped around his neck, increasing the pres-sure of his mouth on mine. Reality was so much better than fantasy. Steve’s lips left mine and disappointed swelled in me. The feeling left when his fingers tangled into my hair and he dropped a feather-light kiss onto my cheek.

“Steve…” I breathed his name.

He cradled my head to his chest. “When you come to the place where you’re ready to trust again, Faith, let me know.”


If you’re interested in reading Faith’s adventure, Cropped to Death is available at:

Mystery Loves Company (print copies)


Barnes and Noble