Wednesday, December 26, 2012


The characters of Ellery Tinsdale and Samantha Greene begin their fictional lives in the first book in my Blonds at the Beach series, THE BLOND LEADING THE BLOND.  But they did have a life before the book.  Here we get a peek into the incident that led up to the opening scene, and get to see a little of the characters in their “ordinary world” before everything is tipped topsy-turvy on the very first page of the book.  I call this THE PREQUEL.  Enjoy.    

<<News clipping from the front page of the  Braddocks Beach Bugle, Braddocks Beach, Ohio, May 31)>>

Town Matriarch Dead at Age 63

          Isabel Genevieve Tinsdale, age 63, was found dead yesterday at the bottom of the stairs of the Braddocks Beach watchtower. Although the autopsy report is not expected to be released for two more days, sources involved in the clean-up efforts indicate that loss of blood will be listed as a contributory cause of death.
          Police have declared Miss Izzy’s tumble down three flights of steep, cement stairs to be an accident, although the reason she was visiting the watchtower at two o’clock in the morning leaves many asking questions. Don’t expect answers from the local authorities, as according to Braddocks Beach Police Chief Albert C. Bennett, “Delving into a citizen’s personal business is beyond the scope of our duty to protect and serve the community. Miss Izzy took that secret to her grave.”

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beach Chat with Terry Ambrose

There is a lot of buzz in the mystery writing world for the new book on the shelf, Photo Finish, so it’s quite a coup for this little blog to to snag this up and coming author.  Here’s what some people are saying about his book: 
     “..a mystery  as refreshing  as a visit to the island themselves.” ~Deborah Coonts.
     “A magnificent read!!” ~Books4Tomorrow
     “This is mystery at its best—humor, adventure and a rip-roaring good tale.”
          ~5-star review on Goodreads.
But enough about the book, let’s get to know the author.  

Today we’re chatting with:  Terry Ambrose
Recommend a Beach Read: Haole Wood by Dee Detarsio. It’s set on Maui and is not only a good beach read, but also includes some beach scenes in the book.
Most cherished beach memory:   Sunrise at Nukolili’ Beach on Kauai. The colors are spectacular and whenever I need to calm down and forget about the stresses of daily life, I visualize that sunrise and try to feel the gentle trade winds in my face.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beach Reads: Seasonal Round-Up

Okay, so it's not exactly Beach Read season here in the southern tip of Virgnia.  But it is most definately Curl-Up-With-A-Good-Book season.  So I've rounded-up my 2012 seasonl areads.  All year I snap up books that have to do with a holiday theme and I tuck them away.  Then, as soon as the last Thanksgiving Feast dish is washed, I race for my stash and start reading.  It’s all holiday-themed, all the time, from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day. 

I’ve been reading plenty the past few weeks, but not enough time to blog about each one individually.  So in the spirit of the season I thought I’d give you a list of some titles you might like to feast your mind on this season.

1)  First and foremost, the best book to get you in the Holiday Spirit is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.  If you haven’t read it, and you need a good stress-relieving laugh, go, right now, and get yourself a copy.  While I’ve been unable to find it on any store shelves this season (I know that because I looked, needing a last minute offer for the book club exchange) so you may have to order it or run to the library. But I bet if you ask around your neighborhood, somebody has a copy handy.  If all else fails, it is available for all e-reader platforms (and if you don’t have an e-reader yet, you can download a free program from Amazon for your PC.)  This is not the usual courtroom drama one has come to expect from Grisham, but a lighthearted and yet heartfelt look at how crazy we have let ourselves become over the holiday season.   If you haven’t read the book, you may have seen the movie, Christmas with the Kranks starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis.  But, as always, the book is better! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beach Chat with Bob Doerr

It’s no big secret I’m a 29-year military spouse so when the opportunity came along to chat with an Air Force veteran who writes mysteries/thrillers, well, suffice it to say it’s a thrill to have Award winning author stop by for a beach chat today!   

Today we’re chatting with:   Bob Doerr

Recommend a Beach Read:  This is actually a tough question because there are so many good books from which to pick.  Since I’ve joined Sisters-in-Crime, I’ve tried to read more books by SINC authors -- the group has a lot of talent.  Most would be good beach reads, and while I think any of my own books would be perfect to read on a beach, I’ll hold off on the self promotion for now. I just finished No Bells, by Marilyn Meredith and would recommend it to anyone sipping a Mai-Tai on the beach right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beach Tale: The Twelve Days of a Beach Christmas

‘Tis the season, as they say for Christmas Carols, and parodies thereof.  Perhaps the most parodied song ever (seasonal or otherwise) is "The Twelve Days of Christmas".  Who amongst us hasn’t smiled when we heard the barking dogs version or the Redneck tune?  Today I offer up a slightly different version of my own making that represents beach life.  Feel free to sing along! 

On the first day of Christmas I saw along the shore:
A lighthouse with a shell wreath on its door.

On the second day of Christmas I saw long the shore:
Two fiddler crabs;
  And a lighthouse with a shell wreath on its door.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winners Announced!

Congratulations Goodreads winners!  Out of 798 entries into the contest, three names were chosen to receive a free, autographed copy of The Blond Leading the Blond.  Copies are on their way to Violet, Cassandra and Patty.  They should arrive at their homes by the end of the week.   If you love to read and are tired of paying top dollar for all those books, consider joining Goodreads and entering the giveaways.  All have been released within the past six months (so they are fresh!).  Just set up an account at  and start entering to win!

Monday, December 10, 2012


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I was thrilled to have stumbled across the most wonderful book for this most wonderful time of the year. 

Book Title:  The Twelve Clues of Christmas, A Royal Spyness Mystery
Author:  Rhys Bowen
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Setting:  Christmas 1933, at a manor house in Devon, England,
Format:  Hardcover
Pages:  311
Publication date:  November 2012
Publisher:  Berkley Hardcover
Opening Line: Ah, Christmas:  chestnuts roasting; Yule logs crackling merrily; tables groaning under roast goose, turkey, mince pies and flaming plum puddings; carols and mistletoe, goodwill to all men. 
Favorite Passage: “Oh, bugger the royals,” Mummy said.  “It’s time you stopped trying to please other people and started living for yourself.  I always have.”   

Beach Read Rating: 5 Beach Umbrellas

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beach Chat with Teri L. Austin

There is more to today’s beach chat participant than meets the eye.  Not only is she the author of The Rose Strickland Mystery series, but she is also one of the driving forces behind a social group on facebook called The Little READ Hens. Isn’t that a clever name?   Every Wednesday the “hens” introduce a topic on something to do with books, be it characters, settings or childhood favorites.  It’s always a great discussion so be sure and check it out.  WAIT WAIT WAIT, not right this should get to know a bit about her first. So…
Today we’re chatting with:  Terri L. Austin.  And thanks so much for having on Beach Chat today, Jayne! It’s a pleasure to be here.
Recommend a Beach Read:  I’m partial to the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. But if I had a Harry Potter book along, I could be persuaded to read.  
Most cherished beach memory:  Okay Jayne, you’re going to think I’m the saddest person ever, but I went to the beach for the first and only time when I was twenty-five. I tagged along with my husband on a business trip, leaving my baby son with my mom. All I wanted to do was run to the hotel every thirty minutes, call Grandma, and find out how he was. I was pretty miserable.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Santa Claus Cookies

Santa Claus Cookies

This recipe is from the Pillsbury Classics Cookbook…the little thing you buy at the check out line…from 1995.  I tried to Google the recipe but it seems to have changed over the years, and not for the better. Classic is well, classic, so here it is:

1 (20 oz) package Pillsbury Refrigerated Sugar Cookies
2 tablespoons red colored sugar
3 to 4 drops (I used a LOT more) red food color
1 can Pillsbury Vanilla Creamy Supreme Frosting
36 Miniature Marshmallows
Assorted Candies (I used red M&Ms for the nose and semi-sweet mini morsels for the eyes and skipped the mouth.  The official recipe calls for red licorice for the mouth, a red gumdrop for the nose and red cinnomin candies for the eyes.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beach Chow: Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

I like to try something new every holiday season.  Most things work, some don’t, but occasionally I stumble across something that instantly becomes part of the holiday tradition.  This is a recipe I came across in 2011 and I’ve already served it once this season.  There will be more before the New Year rolls around.  It is easy and, as they say, oooohhhhh so good!  Enjoy!

Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

3/4 cup butter, divided
1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beach Chat with Judy Copek

When I cast my net out for writers to stop by for a beach chat, I never know who (or is it “whom”?) I’m going to catch.  But it’s always fun to meet a new and interesting author.  I know you’ll enjoy today’s chat!    

Today’s Beach Chat guest:  Judy Copek

Recommend a Beach Read:  Any book by Paul Theroux.  He’s a wonderful travel writer and a good novelist who writes about interesting places that may make you want to jump up, brush the sand off your feet and head for the nearest airport.

Most cherished beach memory:  The first beach I ever saw was on the Oregon coast on my first ever trip West with my parents at age fourteen.   This coast looked rugged and rocky and was full of seals, cliffs, and cute little motels and places to eat.  I’ll always remember the power of the waves crashing onto the shore.