Cover Reveal!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The third in my Community of Faith mysteries now has a cover! And a description! And is live on Amazon!

For the third time in less than six months, Faith Andersen, self-professed computer nerd and skeptical Christian, must solve a murder.

Mira Levinson dared to challenge the local gamer club’s male brotherhood of geekdom. She wrote a game about feelings. A good game. For that she had to die.

The police are focused on the wrong suspect. The police are focused on one of Faith’s friends.

The future of more than one of her friends is in jeopardy. Driven by her desire for justice, Faith must find out who killed Mira. Without dying in the process.

Or losing the love of her life.

If you like traditional mysteries with a touch of romance, you are sure to love A Game of Murder.

The Excitement is Building!

Saturday, August 22, 2015
Very soon now, “A Game of Murder,” the third in my Community of Faith mystery series, will be available for sale. I should get edits back from my editor any day now, my cover designer is working on another fantastic cover, and I’ve started setting the book up on Amazon.

You wouldn’t want to miss the publication announcement, would you?

To make sure you know when you can buy “A Game of Murder,” all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. It’s not hard to do. Just look at the sidebar to the right of this post. Fill in your name and email address, and you’re in!

Just for signing up, you’ll receive a collection of stories that will tell you how it all began. How my four core characters came together to form the Community of Faith.

But wait. There’s more! (Yes, I am channeling late night infomercials.) Everyone who is on my mailing list by August 31, 2015 will be eligible to win a gift box of Arizona treasures. (Sorry, U.S. Residents only. Because of the weight of the items, foreign shipping would be prohibitive.)

As you can see, this includes my first two novels, a box of Cheri’s Mesquite Apple Muffin Mix, Cheri’s Prickly Pear Jelly, a mug portraying the iconic saguaro cactus (from Mostly Books), and a cactus pin.

Don’t miss out! Sign up today!

Oh Dear!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I think I should have been more consistent about posting about my project plants. For the past month, I have been buried in my soon-to-be-released third book in the Community of Faith mystery series. (More on that in my next post.) My existing African violets are all in Oyama pots or double pots made of clay and are well-established, so they can tolerate a few days of neglect.

Not the project plants. Since it takes time for new plants to adapt to a new environment, I left the project plants in their original plastic pots. I added a plastic “saucer” underneath and started out by using the bottom watering technique. Sometimes, when I stuck my finger in the soil, it felt dry, despite water remaining in the saucer. Then I added water from the top.

One plant seemed to do okay. The second one, not so much. I put it under a plastic baggie, trying to create a mini-greenhouse where it might be happier. I kept thinking I should have done that earlier.

The plants continued to deteriorate. I couldn’t decide whether they had too little water or too much, so one day I’d give them water when they probably didn’t need it, another I’d let them go longer and possibly dried them out.

Panic set in.

Before I knew anything about letting plants adapt or tenting them in plastic, I’d take newly arrived plants and repot them immediately. They all did fine. So I decided I should try repotting the project plants, my last ditch effort to have them survive.

I did that this past weekend, putting them into small Oyama pots. I discovered that the soil, although dry around the edges, was wet around the roots. So I was probably over-watering them, not under-watering. The soil was much denser than I use. Another problem. African violets need air around the roots to breathe. I doubt my project plants were getting any air.

I am hoping for a miracle. While one plant has at least one semi-healthy leaf left, you have to look very carefully to see the two tiny leaves remaining on the other. I think I waited too long for my intervention.

At least I know it’s not totally my fault. At the last meeting of the Tucson chapter of the African Violet Society, I was talking to an experienced grower, a woman who has grown hundreds of plants. She told me she didn’t even take the project plants this year because minis and semi-minis are so hard to grow.

Just because I don’t want you to think I’m totally inept, I’m including a picture of my trailer. If nothing else, seeing all the flowers cheers me up.


The Silly Season

Saturday, August 01, 2015
According to Merriam-Webster, the silly season is:

1:  a period (as late summer) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories
2:  a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior

It also refers to the period leading up to an election. Alas, here we are almost a year and a half before the next presidential election, and the Silly Season is in full swing. As of today, there are 16 Republican candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring. On the Democrat side, in addition to Hillary and Bernie Sanders, three others have announced their intention to run for the office. (Source: NY Times.) You can't turn on the news without hearing a story about what one or the other of these candidates has said or done today. Usually that's followed by a group of talking heads--all with a political agenda of their own--discussing the item ad naseum. They don't add any new facts. They merely reinforce their own political bias.

A few months back, I wrote a post titled Twitter is My News Channel. In it, I decried the lack of reporting by traditional news outlets and pointed out that Twitter and Facebook often had the news ahead of radio and television. Unfortunately, social media is not immune to the Silly Season. In fact, Facebook makes the phenomenon I wrote about in April look like reporting by Edward R. Murrow.

Lately I've noticed people posting and commenting on links without ever reading the original source material. Unfortunately, the links are headlines which are merely clickbait, something outrageous to make the reader of said headline click on it to go to a web page where, hopefully, the purveyor will be able to sell you something. Reading the article is secondary. Why are the headlines clickbait? Because they often do not represent the actual body of the story. In fact, often, buried somewhere half-way down in the column, the story will contradict the headline.

A clickbait headline will read something like "Candidate John Doe Says I Drowned Kittens!" When you finally get to the original quote, it says something like: Candidate John Doe said today, "If I drowned kittens, I'd never be able to live with myself." But on Facebook everyone will be decrying the cruelty of John Doe, setting up petitions to have him banned from the election, and sharing this clickbait with everyone they know.

I'm one of those rare people who believes she should know what she's talking about before she opens her mouth, so I do read the original articles. If that article doesn't make sense, I use Google to try to find additional information. I want to know the truth.

I also want other people to know the truth, so, if and when I post a comment, I'll add links to the information I've found, assuming others will want to read that as well.

Silly me.

I forgot the part about them not reading the original article to begin with.

I try to avoid getting embroiled in political discussions on Facebook. I'm a registered Independent and have no particular loyalty to either party. My loyalty is to the truth and to the candidates I believe will represent me best.

Unfortunately, this past week I fell victim to clickbait. I couldn't help myself from trying to counter the vitriol being spread on one thread. The response was immediate and harsh. I forgot for a moment that people are more interested in reinforcing their own beliefs than challenging them.

There's a reason writers are encourage not to advocate a particular stance, whether that be in politics or religion or social issues like gay marriage. Usually, this is because a publisher doesn't want their writer losing sales because some readers have the opposite opinion. In my case, it's because it takes too much time and energy to try to prove my point. I'm not Don Quixote.

I'm going to redouble my efforts not to get involved in political arguments this Silly Season. Most of the candidates will fall by the wayside. I'll make my choice in November of next year. Quietly. I'll resist the temptation to read every bit of clickbait. I have books to write.

fuzzy-mascot.jpg Copyright Piotr Siedlecki via
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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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