Archive for January, 2010


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! My January winner is…

Posted under Uncategorized 1 Comment


Well, I have to say, my first month of blogging on a daily basis went better than I expected! A huge Thank You goes out to all of you who have been giving me a shot the past few weeks.

And now that January is virtually done, it’s time to post my first monthly winner! At the end of every month, I put the names of all those people who have posted a comment on my blog that month into a hat for a random drawing. The more times you comment over the course of the month, the more chances you have to win.

Our January winner? Blog reader, Dru!!!  Dru, please contact me at: to claim your prize (a choice of…a) a signed copy of SEW DEADLY, b) a signed copy of KAYLA’S DADDY, c) a signed cover flap of the upcoming DEATH THREADS, or d) a signed copy of all three of my Jenkins & Burns Mysteries).

Congratulations, Dru!



That’s a Fact, Jack…

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 11 Comments

And it’s also a bit of a quiz, but I couldn’t resist the title.

For today’s Q & A type questions, I figured we’d look to the fridge…

And the cabinet…

And the car (the best place to hide a treat you don’t want the kids to find 🙂  )

Fact #1: Did you know that the shape of a pretzel was quite deliberate. When first made, the ropes of rolled dough were twisted upward to resemble hands on the chest in prayer? Pretty cool, huh?  pretzel-229

Fact #2: It’s no secret I am a Milk Dud fanatic. And, truth be told, that’s generally what my car stash consists of. But that’s not our fact. At least it’s not the main one. Do you know how Milk Duds got their name? Well, “milk” reflects the large amount of milk found in the product (so, see…they’re good for you 🙂  ). And the “duds” part came about during production. You see, the original idea was to have a perfectly round piece of candy. However, when the maker realized that was impossible, the word “duds” was used.



Fact #3: Did you know that on average, each person in the U.S. eats 23 pounds of pizza in a year?

Which leads me to the Q & A portion of today’s post… A Food Q & A.

1) What’s your all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie?

2) When you’re standing in front of the candy aisle in a store and you’re craving a treat, what do you generally grab for?

3) What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

4) What’s your go-to food for a pick-me-up?

5) If you could remove one particular food from the face of the earth, what would it be?

6) Any fun veggie stories from your childhood?



Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Posted under Writing Thursdays 10 Comments


Well, it’s Thursday again and time to go back to the mailbox.

This question is from blog reader, Nikki:

Do you miss writing about the characters in your Jenkins & Burns series? Is it hard to let them be if the publisher wants something else?

In order to answer this question, I need to give a little backstory for those who don’t know about this series. The Jenkins & Burns mystery series was the first series I’d ever written and it was for a small, independent publishing house. I wrote it under the name, Laura Bradford. There were three books in the series–Jury of One (an Agatha nominee), Forecast of Evil (my personal favorite), and Marked by Fate.

The series ended after three books because I chose not to write them anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the characters–because I did. Rather, it was because I’d only planned three from the start.

Could I have written more? Absolutely. But I decided it was time to take a stab at one of the bigger publishing houses in the interest of furthering my dream.  And so I did…hitting the mark with my new Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin) under the name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

Do I miss Elise and Mitch from the Jenkins & Burns series? Sure. Sometimes. But to be honest with you, the characters I miss most are ones from a chick-lit style mystery series I crafted around the field of advertising. It was that manuscript that helped me secure an agent (two, actually…which resulted in a very tough choice) and made its way around the publishing world (gathering very  nice and encouraging rejections along the way). The book I’d been so sure about…the one that attracted two agents…went nowhere. 

Yet, to this day, I still LOVE those characters. Absolutely LOVE them.  And it was hard when I realized I wasn’t going to get to keep writing them. Not for that book, anyway.

But here’s the deal. As a writer, there are always characters in my head. Characters demanding their time on a page or in a book. I just need to use the right ones at the right time. And if, for some reason, one of them doesn’t work…I can still thank him/her for the fun they gave me and move on. Maybe they’ll work their way into something else one day. And maybe they won’t. Yet I can honestly say that each and every one of them has helped me grow as a writer. And for that, I’m grateful.

Any comments/observations/further questions? Fire away…



Peas and Carrots…But Hold the Peas, Please

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 12 Comments

Before I go on, I feel I must clarify the title of today’s post in the event you think we’re about to talk veggies. Because we’re not.   food_clipart_carrot

Not today. Not ever.

In fact, the only way I eat a veggie is if it’s spinach (mixed with potatoes) or corn (which, I’m told doesn’t count anyway). Beyond that, fuggedaboutit.

No, the carrots I’m talking about are the kind you dangle in front of a person to motivate them. And, more specifically, the carrots you dangle in front of your own face.

I’ve always been a fairly motivated person. Making a to-do list excites me almost as much as putting the little check next to each item as I accomplish it. And, if left to a whole day of nothing, I tend to do something. It’s just the way I am.

However, lately I’m feeling as if said motivation has cheated me out of the finer points of self bribery. So, I’ve decided to change that.

Just a little.  🙂

Yep, I’m officially giving myself a few carrots over the next few months.

First, an immediate one. I have two manuscripts due over the next two-and-a-half months (one romance, one mystery). Which means I’m typing like a nut right now and really can’t afford any time off at all.

*insert carrot*…

I’ve decided to treat myself to a day in the city (lunch & wandering around) when the romance is done. Sounds good, huh? 

Second, there’s the mystery. Which will get turned in about the time spring break starts.

*insert second carrot*…

While there are no plans to go anywhere for spring break, I think this time a day in the city might entail a show (any suggestions, anyone?).

So what do you say? Care to pick something you’d like/need to accomplish in the next few months and choose/share your carrot with us?



At First Glance

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 7 Comments

Since I haven’t finished reading the book I’d planned to use for today’s “Reading Tuesday,” I figured we could talk a little about SEW DEADLY.  sewdeadlysmall

As always, you don’t have to have read the book to participate in our chat (though, I hope you have…because it’s a fun book).  🙂

Here’s a tiny taste of the story via the backcover copy.

Ever since she moved to Sweet Briar, South Carolina, Tori’s been the talk of the tiny town. But she’s been so busy adding a children’s corner to the library, winning over the women of the sewing circle, and trying to forget her cheating ex that she hasn’t had time to even baste together a pillow, never mind pay attention to local gossip. Then she finds the town sweetheart dead at her back door, and everything else falls by the wayside…

Everyone believes the police investigator, who’s just fixin’ to link Tori to the murder in a love triangle gone bad through a handsome third grade teacher. To clear her name, Tori will have to rely on her new sewing sisters and stitch together the truth–or else she’ll be darned…

One of the parts that made this story so much fun to write was the notion of being a fish out of water simply because you moved to a place where everyone knows everyone (except you). The kind of place where a newcomer is not only easy to spot, but also studied…

And analyzed…

And judged.

All because they’re “new” or “different.”

So here are my questions for all of you. Have you ever moved to a new place? Did you feel out of place and why? And what did you do to make yourself fit? And, if you’ve never moved, have you ever been wary of someone because they’re new? Have you ever reached out to a newcomer and if so, how did it go? And finally, as is the case with Tori, has there ever been a moment in your life where you’ve either proved someone wrong about you…or realized you were wrong about someone else?



Dinner for Four

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 6 Comments

You’ve decided to throw a dinner party for yourself and three others. placesettingclipart

Who would you invite (invitees can be living or dead)? What would you serve? Why? And tell us what you might ask each person in order to facilitate your dinner table discussion.

Have fun!



Answer Time

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 14 Comments

testtakerclipartIt’s Bits & Pieces Friday again! Which means, questions from me….and, hopefully, answers from you. Little by little they form pictures.

Ready? Set? Go (and remember, Elaboration =  Fun)!

1) Your favorite childhood book?

2) The first poster you hung in your room?

3) Do you remember the name of the first boy/girl you had a crush on as a kid? And did it ever pan out?

4) The first record (or CD if you’re younger than me) you ever bought?

5) Worst gift you ever got?

6) Best gift you ever got?

7) Have you ever re-gifted?

Have a great Friday, everyone!



Just Plotting Along

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

I put out a call for writing-related questions on last Thursday’s post and got some really good ones in response. So, today, I decided to answer Dru’s…

How do you come up with the plot for each story and/or character?

For those of you who have read, SEW DEADLY (the first in my new Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series), you know that my main character, Tori Sinclair,  is in a sewing circle. The circle is made up of women of all ages–personalities in their own right, that’s for sure!

Now, while the series features Tori as the protagonist, I utilize the members of the circle to drive the main plot in each subsequent book. In the second book–DEATH THREADS (which will release May 4th)–the action centers around Debbie Calhoun’s husband. He’s a semi-famous author. In the third book–PINNED FOR MURDER (release date TBA)–I use Rose Winter’s former career in education to be a springboard for the plot. 

computerclipartWhat’s fun about writing a series like this is the fact that the side characters offer me so many wonderful opportunities for plots. Each character is a different age, has/had a different career, etc., which fuels ideas all on its own.

For the fourth book (which I’m working on now), I made a list of all my circle members. Before I was even done, two of the members jumped out at me as having a connection worthy of exploring. Once I noted that, the ideas started swirling until I had a plot that I’m quite excited about.

I hope that answered your question, Dru. If my answer fires off a different (related or otherwise) question for any of you, let me know.

Keep the questions coming!



Good in the Strangest of Places

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 5 Comments

Next week, I have the honor of addressing a group of people at an M.S. event in New York City. As a speaker.


Why the gulp, you ask? Well, without realizing it, I suspect I went towards the field of writing because I’m rather shy by nature. I love learning about other people, but don’t like talking about myself unless I know someone really, really, really well. Yet, next week, I need to shed that instinct…or characteristic…or whatever you want to call it in favor of, well, talking about me.

And if I do it well enough, perhaps some of those fifty to sixty people will opt to donate even more to an organization that has helped me, as well as countless other individuals who have this disease.

Daunting prospect? Without a doubt.

A little exciting? Surprisingly, yeah. Because this is my chance to do something–to maybe make a difference. A real difference.

 Which is why, over the past few days, I’ve been thinking of what I can say to impact the people in that room… To educate them. To foster understanding in their minds and hearts. To reach them in some lasting way.

Being diagnosed with something like multiple sclerosis is scary. There’s no two ways about that fact. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say some positive has come with the negative…

*I’ve learned who my friends are.

*I’ve learned just how strong my spirit is.

*I’ve been given a sort of platform (thanks to my writing) to possibly make a difference in the future.

*And I’ve met some amazing people I would never have met if it weren’t for this disease–people I’d have been cheated out of knowing otherwise.

Realizing these things has impacted the direction my talk will take, guiding me to focus on those moments in a person’s life that stand out. You know, the moments that change you as a person…

Because change isn’t always bad.

So how about you? Have you ever been faced with something that–at first glance–seemed awful, yet had a silver lining you may have missed otherwise?



Finding the Words Anywhere You Can

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 7 Comments

Do you ever have a moment when you just need someone to say the right thing–some combination of words that will light a fire, soothe a hurt, or right a wrong?

For some lucky souls, those words come with ease from the mouths of loved ones. For others, they come from true friends. And still others seek them from anyplace they can find them. Like a book.

About six months ago, a writing buddy sent me a book of quotes which I find myself thumbing through more often than not…searching for just the right combination of words for whatever it is I need at that particular moment. Sometimes it’s to find faith in myself. Sometimes it’s to heal a wound. Sometimes it’s to give myself a good old fashioned kick in the backside. And while I’m about as far from an athlete as you’re gonna get, the quotes contained in Enduring Words for the Athlete are a lifesaver at times.    athletebook

Here’s a few of my favorites. Perhaps they’ll resonate with you, too.

*You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.   ~Wayne Gretzky

*Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. ~William James (American psychologist)

*It takes a struggle, a goal, and enthusiasm to  make a champion. ~Norman Vincent Peale

*The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. ~William Faulkner

*Whether you believe you can do a thing or believe you can’t, you are right. ~Henry Ford

*Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. ~Mahatma Gandhi

*Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. ~Lou Holtz

And one that just screams to be heard…

*It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself. ~Muhammad Ali

So how about you? Any favorite quotes you care to share?