Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Release—A Stitch to Die For

I'm pleased to welcome Lois Winston and her new release. I love the cover of this book! It's going on my TBR list.

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 5

The adventures of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack continue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston.

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.


After nearly an hour of battling rush hour traffic, I finally arrived home, relieved to find neither Ira’s van nor Lawrence’s car parked at the curb. After last night’s chaos, I looked forward to a relatively peaceful dinner—relatively being the operative word. After all, I never knew what to expect from my mother-in-law.

However, as I turned to head into the house, an unexpected shaft of bright light caught my eye. Across the street, Betty Bentworth’s door stood half ajar, the glow from her foyer chandelier spilling out onto her front porch.

Betty—otherwise known as Batty Bentworth—spent her life seated in front of her living room window where she spied on her neighbors. She kept the Westfield police on speed dial, often calling multiple times a day to complain about anything and everything, once even demanding the arrest of her six-year-old next-door neighbor for vandalism. The child’s crime? She’d drawn a chalk hopscotch board on the sidewalk in front of Betty’s house.

Batty Bentworth was not someone who left her front door open—especially after dark.

Like everyone else in the neighborhood, I kept my distance from Mrs. Bentworth. You never knew what would set her off, and it was best not to get on her bad side. Not that she had a good side from what I knew of her.

Still, I couldn’t ignore that open door. Rather than head across the street, I decided to call her. Maybe she’d gone out earlier to retrieve her mail, and the door hadn’t latched completely when she returned. The stiff October breeze blowing down the street may have pushed the door open.

I whipped out my cell phone, scrolled to her number, and placed the call. The phone rang. And rang. And rang. After a dozen rings I hung up, sighed, and reluctantly crossed the street.

Hello? Mrs. Bentworth?” I called through the open door. No answer. I shouted her name. “Mrs. Bentworth!” Only the sound of the six o’clock news blaring from her television greeted me.

I stepped inside and shouted above the Eyewitness News reporter. “Mrs. Bentworth! It’s Anastasia Pollack. Your front door is open.”

A sense of déjà vu washed over me. Less than two weeks earlier I’d discovered Rosalie Schneider, another elderly neighbor, unconscious at the bottom of her basement stairs. I took a few steps into the foyer and turned toward the dimly lit living room. Batty Bentworth sat on her sofa, a multi-colored crocheted granny square afghan draped across her lap, her gaze fixated on the news broadcasting from an old black and white console television set.

Mrs. Bentworth, didn’t you hear me?”

When she didn’t respond, I stepped between her and the television. She continued to ignore me, but now I knew why. Batty Bentworth was dead—but not from natural causes.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Idea of Fun- Open Book Blog Hop

THEME THIS WEEK: Let's talk fun. What do you consider fun? Drinks with friends, camping, music, shooting pool, picnics, watching television. Show us your fun times.

Those of you who have reading my blog entries probably think you know where I'm headed this week. Chances are you're right. But I'm going to make a quick stop before we get there.

I love to read. Always have, even as a kid. I used to take a book out of the elementary school library each afternoon before hopping on the bus to head home, and return it the next morning. Yes, I'd read a book a night.

When I got into high school, the demands of school work slowed my reading down—somewhat. I probably only read three of four books a week. Of course, they were also thicker and more complex. As an adult, I'd "binge read." I'd got through periods where I read constantly, and other times when I didn't have time to read at all. Now that I've started writing myself, my time to read has shrunk even more. Which reminds me, I need to make a trip to the library.

You can go pack top my post about crafty stuff to read about my love of needlecraft. I'll  give you one picture to entice you if you haven't already read it.

And now to where you knew where I was going. Every chance I get, I head to the mountains. Sometimes it's a day trip, and when time allows, it's more. I've always loved camping. I grew up in the country, and many summer nights we'd drag a few blankets out to the front porch and sleep outside. When I was in the Girl Scouts, I looked forward to our camping trips. When I got a bit older, I volunteered to help with the summer camps. One summer, I worked as a camp counselor and lived in a tent for the whole summer.

Luckily, I married a guy who likes to camp almost as much as I do, and we've lived in places where the camping was plentiful and the people weren't. Nothing better then being in the wilderness with no one else around, sitting by a campfire on a clear night and watching the stars. It's amazing how many more stars you can see in the night sky when you're somewhere high in the mountains. Throw in a little background music courtesy of John Denver (or at least a recording of him) and you've got the makings of a perfect night. And that's my idea of fun!

And now it's time to pimp another of our authors. Because remember, reading is first on my list of ways to have fun!  So if you haven't checked out Stevie Turner's books teey, now's your chance. You can find them at Stevie Turner

To find out what other authors are saying, head over to PJ Fiala's blog

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Monday, July 13, 2015

My Dream Vacation= Meet the Author Open Book Blog Hop

Hello everyone! IF you got here by way of  Stephany Tuliss' blog, glad you survived the hop Did you check out her books while you were there? .No? Well, you should! You can tahe a peek at Stephany Tullis. And it's great how well her cover fits in with my post this week!

Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.
This week's topic :What's my dream vacation?

I'm lucky enough to live within a few hours drive of several different mountain ranges, parts of the Rocky Mountain change. I spend as much time as I can in the mountains, but always in places you can get to by road. 

So it may seem strange, but what I'd like to do for my vacation is spend even more time in the mountains. Not in one of the spots I normally go to, however. What I'd like is to have a outfitter take me by horseback to some high mountain lake where very few people get to go.

I know they are used to taking people fishing on those trips, but my goal is not to catch fish.
It's to sit by the lake and write, at least during the day. Go for a walk if I felt like it, maybe even read a book. At night I want to sit and stare at the campfire, watch meteors flash through the night sky, and listen to the night sounds. The logs popping in the fire, the fish jumping in the lake, the bugs chirping, maybe even a wolf howling in the distance.

Sure, I'd be without a computer or internet access, but that would be okay. I've written entire books by hand before. I'd have to be sure to take plenty of paper with me. Not that I'd expect to get an entire book written in a week, but it sure would be nice to have the opportunity to write without worrying about the household chores. The outfitter would be responsible for the meals, even if was just canned chili and some plain old white bread. Hush, I know it's not nutritional balanced. I'll have some fruit for desert, all right?

I might not be as productive as I planned in those dreamy days high above the timberline. I might spend too much time staring at the water, watching the water skippers float across the surface and the dragonflies bouncing from plant to plant along the shoreline, but that's okay. I'd be refreshing my soul.

You say spending my time writing doesn't sound like a vacation? For me, it would be. I'd get to mix two of my most favorite things to do. Now that's a dream vacation.

Do you want to find out what author Kelly Williams would do for vacation? Check it out here:
Kelly Willliams. Make sure you check out her books while you're there. Hope to see you again next week!

#OpenBook #Vacation  #Mountains

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Crafty Things - Meet the Author Open Book Blog


Welcome everyone! If you came here by way of Lela Markham's   blog, thanks for making the hop.  Hope you took a minute to check out her books. If not, it's not to late. You can check out her author page on Amazon HERE.

Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.'
This week's topic: Topic: Are you crafty? Do you like DIY projects? Would you like to be? Share some projects you've done.  It could be gardening, crafts, home repairs/remodels, turning a door into a headboard, creating a light fixture out of a crate (I know a stretch), anything.

I think you can already see where I'm going with this post. I'm into needlecraft. Everything on this post is my work. (Except the book covers!) Sure, most of the ones I've posted are from kits, but that's because I've given away a lot of things I've made to special people in my life that were not kit-based. And I didn't keep pictures of them.

Oh, you thought those were paintings? Nope. They are all done with yarn. Well, the ones you've seen so far are.If you zoom in you can see the individual stitches.Several different techniques were used in these samples of my work.

The lion is done with a technique known as longstitch. It's done on a fabric canvas, and one stitch can cover several squares. It's done in a vertical fashion, unlike the next project. That's traditional needlepoint, and the stitches are made in a diagonal pattern. (Continental stitch) It's also done on a fabric canvas, and each stitch covers one of the "intersections" of the canvas threads. Yes, folks, that's a lot of stitching in that project. Also a lot of variations of the colors used. I had to make sure I worked that one in good lighting so I didn't mess up the shading.

The unicorn pillow is a combination of needlepoint techniques. It uses the standard stitch (continental) like the pansy picture, but it also uses satin stitch and french knots.If I recall correctly, it also uses a stem stitch and an outline stitch, It was inspired by a kit I made for someone else, but I liked the design so much I copied it and made on for myself.

Before I go any farther, let me apologize.  A photographer I am not. And it's difficult to get a good shot when the object is hanging on the wall in an odd spot. But I did the best I could.

The eagle and the two pillows are a different style of needlecraft known as crewel embroidery. It's done with yarn on a special cotton fabric. You can create different effects by using different of kinds of stitches. The eagle only used about four kinds of stitches, but the pillow below used about a dozen. There are many different kinds of stitches you can use—there are entire books filled with the instructions for how do the numerous variations.

Let's move on to another category, one that perhaps people are more familiar with. Embroidery. It's done with special thread (floss) on cloth. You've all seen items that are machine embroidered, but I do my stitching by hand. What you see below is one corner of a very large tablecloth. Large enough that if I tried to fit it into a picture, you'd lose the sense of detail. It took me five years to complete this project. Yes, five. Granted, I did some smaller projects during that five years when I got tired of this one, but I never gave up on it.

This is my most recent project—a baby quilt I embroidered for my grandson. It's done in cross-stitch—stamped, not counted. The request for the quilt was the second thing out of my daughter's mouth when she told me she was pregnant. I'd made one for each of my kids, as well as several nieces and nephews, and there was no way possible she wasn't going to get one for her baby.She didn't even need to ask. It only took me about five months to do. I'd allowed myself more time than that, but he came early and I put aside my writing to get it done before he came home from the hospital.

I'm not working on anything right now so I can't show you any works in progress. I've been concentrating on my writing as my creative outlet. But if you want to know more about these crafts, there are lots of books available.If you know how to thread a needle, you can buy a basic kit and start there. The kit will include instructions.

Find out what author T.L. Clark does besides write. Check out her post at T.L. Clark.  Don't forget to check out her books while you're there!