Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beach Chat with Jennifer Oko

Happy Easter!  We have a special Easter Sunday treat because a nationally acclaimed author is pulling up a beach chair.  Jennifer Oko is currently touring on a Blog Hop (no that doesn't have anything to do with Easter Bunnies, though--it's just a coincidence...) where an author hops around to as many blogs as she can to promote her book. And avid readers that we are, we’re always looking for something new to read, right?  So AFTER you read about Jennifer, click here to be taken to the Cozy Mystery Book Review website and you will find lots of mystery writers touring the blog-o-sphere. And if you want to win a copy of HEAD CASE, just click here to be whisked off to a site offering a contest for those who leave a comment.  But wait just a second before you go rushing off because I know you’re going to want to read about someone who shares the same Beach-read-recommendations and dance-to-the-music gene as yours truly.  Read on!   

Today we're chatting with:  Jennifer Oko.

Hi Jayne! Thank you for hosting me. I must say, you ask some slyly tricky questions. This was a lot of fun! 

Most cherished beach memory:  In college, a few friends and I drove through the night to watch the sunrise from a Cape Cod beach. I remember lying there in the sand, completely exhausted and utterly awed.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beach Chat with Alan Cupp

I, for one, firmly believe that you CAN judge a book by its cover!  And Henery Press, the new small mystery publisher on the block, hits it out of the park on every cover I've seen of theirs.  Proof to that theorem is Malicious Masquerade,  literally hot off the presses as it was just released Tuesday.  Look at that cover! Doesn't that just make you want to curl up and allow yourself to be swallowed up by the intrigue?  And once you get to know a little bit more about the author, Alan Cupp, I know you’ll be racing to your reading device or online bookstore. So without further babbling on my part, let’s get to know a little more about this mystery writer.

Today we’re chatting with:  Alan Cupp

Most cherished beach memory: My family has taken quite a few beach vacations but the one that stands out in my mind as just being a fantastic week was in Gulf Shores Alabama when my boys were little (around 5 and 3). It was a simple week of great weather and fun family time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beach Tale: The Sniper Sisters

It's rerun season here at the Life's a Beach Blog as my life priorities continue to weigh on the Real Estate Side.  But Friday returns with fresh content and a great beach chat and I'll be back in my writing chair from then on. But today it's a rerun.  Not just any rerun, mind you, but the very first "mystery" I ever wrote!  It has a special place in my heart and I wanted to share it with all of my new followers who have joined the rolls since the story was last published in October, 2011.  And those of you who have already read it might enjoy it again! So here's a little story I like to call...

The Sniper Sisters

      “It’s my turn to pull the trigger.”  Evie straddled the large fallen tree blocking the trail.  With a grunt, she hauled her left leg over and set both sensibly-clad feet on the ground, enjoying a moment’s rest as her older-by-three-minutes sister Dot struggled with the obstacle.
          “No, you knocked off Marty Knudsen last week, remember?”  Dot executed an awkward belly roll over the log, momentum carrying her until she landed in a pile of damp, decomposing leaves at Evie’s feet.
          “Of course I remember,” Evie snarled.  “Direct hit to his heart.  But you got the three before that.”  
          “Only because your shot on Alma Schaeffer went wide and took out Cuddles McGee instead.”           
          “It didn’t go wide.  I meant to shoot that damn cat.  It left two more goldfinches on my doorstep that morning.”
          Dot struggled to her feet in the wobbly, ungainly manner of a camel, then brushed the dirt off her knees.  “If I hadn’t acted quickly to take Alma out, she would have gotten us first.  You were taking too long to reload.  Not my fault you screwed up your turn.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

Beach Chat with Cindy Blackburn

I’m not trying to brag, but I’m pretty plugged into the cozy mystery writing world.  That means I spend a lot of time surfing facebook pages and websites to see what OTHER mystery writers are writing.  And when one author and one series of books is appearing on every news feed, well, a girl’s gotta sit up and take notice, right?  So I did, and clicked on over to Cindy Blackburn’s website (linked at the end of this post.)  And what did I see in the headline?  “Murder meets menopause.  Take a guess which wins.” I was hooked.  Searching a little more I discovered we both like Champagne, and dislike--ooh, caught myself.  I almost gave away the ending of the post!  As a mystery writer I should know better!  So you’ll have to read all the way through Cindy’s bio to see what dislikes-in-life we share.  But right now, pull up a beach chair and join us for a chat! 

Today we’re chatting with:  Cindy Blackburn

Most cherished beach memory:  Hubby and I got a chance to vacation in Nevis one Christmas! I had never seen the Caribbean before, and I had never seen hubby swim (He can swim--just doesn't really like to) But Christmas? And the Caribbean? Yep. We went swimming. Afterwards we ate lobster sandwiches and drank Ting at the beach pavilion and watched the yachts out on the horizon. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


          If you are a facebook friend of mine, then you are aware that for these first three weeks in March I am involved in an INTENSE Principals of Real Estate class, which should (if all goes well) prepare me enough to pass the national exam and get my agent's license.  To that end, there is no writing go on here.  And by that I mean, no writing of any sort.  No books, no stories, no emails and especially no blog posts.  I did have the foresight to book my beach chat guests, but didn't really think about putting fingers to keyboard for my own posts.  So, I'm "cheating" a little bit by offering up an excerpt of The Blond Leading the Blond.  This is from the end of chapter four, and is written in the first person of Ellery Tinsdale, an amateur sleuth--and a most reluctant one at that--as she gets to know some of her new neighbors in Braddocks Beach, Ohio.  Enjoy!

          We ate.  We talked.  We laughed.  A lot.  Sam only had to coach me one more time on my manners. “Corn should be eaten left to right, like a typewriter,” she’d whispered in my ear when racing off to greet some late-arriving guests. Who’d a thunk? She buzzed back to our table, and with her once again seated across from me, I didn’t dare lick the basil butter from my fingers. “If you’ll excuse me for a minute.” I climbed out from under the picnic table. My dinner companions nodded. George and Doodles stood up when I did, after I felt Sam kick George under the table, that is. I was glad I wasn’t the only one who needed prompting when it came to all things mannerly.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beach Chat with Annie Adams

          My secret dream is to own a flower shop.  (Well one of them anyway.  I also want to own and operate a B&B, but that’s another post for another day.)  And as you all know my favorite author is Janet Evanovich, on account of her humor and mishaps.  And I love, love, love mysteries.  So combine three of my favorite things and you get the top-selling cozy mystery on Amazon, The Final Arrangement, first in The Flower Shop Mysteries series.  I’m thrilled today to have the creator of such stop by for a Beach Chat. 

Today we’re chatting with:  Annie Adams. 

Most Cherished Beach Memory:  Being from Utah, I don't have a lot of beach memories. But, in a previous career, I traveled with a women's college sports team as a Certified Athletic Trainer. Part of our conference included the University of Hawaii. We were all so excited to travel there for a match, for most of us it would be our first trip there. We arrived at 9pm, ate dinner and went to bed. The next day, we had a short practice and then we were allowed 1 hour to find some lunch and visit the beach. Then, it was back to the hotel to get ready for our match and then on the bus to the soccer match. We withstood torrential rains, unlike anything I'd ever witnessed. We lost the match, went back to the hotel, starved, soaked and caked with red mud, then we left at 5am the next morning to catch our early flight home. Needless to say, I need a new beach memory!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


          My first gardening catalog came addressed to “Robert S. Jones or Current Resident.” That was me--Current Resident.  We’d just made our fourth move in two years in conjunction with my husband’s Naval career.  His orders were for twenty-four months.  Long enough to plant perennials.      
          I thought a showed a great deal of restraint when I limited myself to a $500 order.  A rainbow of reds, blues and yellows.  A variety of curious textures.   My home would stand out from the others in this newly-constructed cookie-cutter neighborhood.  Okay, so I would eat nothing but macaroni and cheese for two months, but with the Yard of the Month awarded by my neighborhood association came a $50 gift certificate to the hardware store, so it would offset the scales a bit.  And based on the glossy pictures of what my gardens would look like, I was a sure winner.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Beach Chat with MITZI KELLY

You are in for a treat today.  Once again I have an Amazon Cozy Bestselling Author stopping by for a Beach Chat.  Today’s guest also got her first start with Avalon Books (just like me) which means her books were  bought out last summer by Amazon (just like me), and now her books are available on the Kindle platforms (just like me.)  When The Blond Leading the Blond was first contracted with Avalon, I immediately went to their website and purchased two mysteries so that I could get a sense of quality of the books. The cover that snagged my sense of mystery whimsy was Mitzi Kelly’s Classic Revenge, A Sliver Sleuths Mystery.    Seasoned-citizens Edna, Trish and Millie took me on a great caper, and I’ve been a fan of Mitzi’s ever since.  So without further ado, let’s get chatting with cozy mystery writer Mitzi Kelly.   

Most cherished beach memory: This happened a few years ago and I still laugh about it.  My husband and I spend quite a bit of time in Port Aransas, Texas, a wonderful little beach town.  One night, when the weather was cool and there weren't many beach-goers around, we decided we wanted to spend the night on the beach and watch a scary movie.  I had a SUV with plenty of room and a DVD player, so we bought one of those big blow-up mattresses, tons of snacks and drinks, and the new release of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Boy, were we adventurous.  It took us over an hour to blow up the mattress, going from one convenience store to the other using the air machines, and probably spending close to $50 bucks in quarters.  But we were determined!  We made it to the beach around midnight.  It was an overcast night and the beach was practically deserted.  We parked the car close to the water, jumped in the back with our pillows and snacks and settled down to watch the movie.  I downed a couple of chocolate cupcakes while the previews were showing and I was feeling pretty independent and brave.  That's when the music started for Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I swallowed loud enough to drown out the music, buried my head under the pillow and told my husband I wanted to leave. I still haven't lived it down . . . 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I interrupt the regularly schedule blog post to bring you this exciting announcement….

As many of you know I have a LOT of writer friends who have made a small fortune publishing their own work in the electronic-book-o-sphere.  It’s known as Indie- or Self-publishing.  Well, I have decided to test the waters of the Indie-pond and have written a novella (which is about 25,000-words, or 1/3 the length of a traditional novel.)  I have woven a tight story of mystery.  I have run the story through the gamut of critique partners and a professional editor.  And I have hired cover artist extraordinare San over at  Custom Covers <<>> and she created a gorgeous cover with my name on the front!  I love it, and I hope you will, too.  The plan is to upload to the Kindle platform so it will be available for purchase on March 27.  

But now, without further ado, I give you the Cover and the Tease for my soon to be released ebook, BEHIND THE BLUE DOOR:  230 Periwinkle Place…..

Can you have a future if you can’t remember the past?

When Skye Crenshaw Whitmore is shown a picture of a house with a blue door, she recalls living there as a young girl.  At first the memories are of the warm and fuzzy variety; little moments spent gardening or reading with her mother.  Upon learning that the house on Periwinkle Lane is where her mother died, darker memories bubble to the surface but fail to assemble into a complete picture.  With more questions than answers, she sets off to find out what exactly happened in that house thirty years ago. 

Skye soon learns that old memories never die, they just wait…Behind the Blue Door.  (Available March 27, 2013 for your Kindle and other supported devices.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Beach Chat with V. S. KEMANIS

It’s Legal Mystery Season here at the beach, so it’s with great fanfare I welcome V.S. Kemanis who writes of what she knows.  Ms. Kemanis has a background as a criminal prosecutor for street and organized crime! Gotta admit, that's way more cool than my background as an accountant!   But I don’t want to give away too much about V.S.’s accomplishments, so I’ll stop there and let you read on.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy chatting with her at the beach today.  So without further ado, let’s put our hands together for a warm beach welcome for V.S. Kemanis! 

Most cherished beach memory: As a teenager, body surfing a tall wave at the best beach in the world, Manhattan Beach, California, where I spent many a summer day.