We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month–time again for some good news to take you into June with a smile.

The story I’ve chosen for this month is another one about plastic pollution and what one innovative company is doing about it. In short, the company is taking plastics and converting them into fuels and commercial-grade waxes. And here’s the best part: the technology employed by the company could also be used to produce “feedstocks” needed for additional plastic production. What this means: good news! This could be the beginning of the world’s first circular economy for plastics.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

These are the cohosts for this month: Shilpa GargDan Antion, Mary GieseSimon Falk, and Damyanti Biswas

 

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Last Tuesday Book Round-Up

I’m happy to report that I was able to get more reading done in May than I did in April. As of writing this post, I’ve finished six books so far this month and I may be able to squeeze in one more. Here’s the round-up:

Eighteen Months by Glenn McGoldrick is a short story I first heard about on Twitter. This was the first story I’ve read by this author, and I thought it was thoughtfully written and full of darkness. I can’t tell you much without giving the story away, but if you like suspense, this is a good one to check out.

Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert was the sequel to Moloka’i. You have to know a little bit about Moloka’i in order to understand what’s happening in the sequel.

The island of Moloka’i in Hawaii was widely known as a leper colony where people were sent decades ago to remove them from the general population. Moloka’i is the heart-wrenching, beautifully-written story of a woman who grew up on the island. As an adult, she gives birth to a baby girl and she and the baby’s father are forced to give up their daughter a day after her birth. Daughter of Moloka’i is the story of that little girl.

Moloka’i is an incredible novel and it was going to be pretty hard to beat it, or even match it. In my opinion, Daughter of Moloka’i doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, but it’s still a great book and well worth reading.

Desperate Deeds by Patricia Gligor is the third book in the Malone Mystery series. In this book, Ann Kern has to deal with her husband’s unemployment, the possibility he’s drinking again, the aftermath of her mother-in-law’s death, starting a new business, and the most unthinkable thing of all, her son going missing. Here’s my Goodreads review:

“This was the fourth book I have read by Patricia Gligor, and as always, she has crafted a story that is full of characters who could be your next-door neighbors. The book draws the reader in with the promise of suspense, and there is plenty of it in this book. Following the twists and turns is fun, and I was sure I knew what would happen on more than one occasion. I was wrong, which thrilled me! Looking forward to Malone Mystery #4.”

Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque is a book that you certainly don’t need to read if you have a newsletter, but if you do, get it, read it, and keep it for future reference. I’m in the process of changing how my newsletter is discovered by readers and I’m already implementing some of the changes the book suggests. I’m very excited about it!

A friend suggested that I read Thief of Corinth and I’m glad I did. It was an interesting story about corruption in the ancient city of Corinth and how a young girl and her father face choices they must make in the face of adversity. The main character, Ariadne, is complex and, at times, misguided and angry. Watching her grow and learn about this new system of beliefs called Christianity is uplifting and inspiring.

Organized for Homicide by Ritter Ames is a great cozy mystery full of twists, turns, and…organizing advice. When two women take on the job of organizing a cross-country move for a recently-divorced father of three and at least two of his children, they’ve got their hands full. And when the ex-wife shows up dead, there are suspects aplenty, beginning with the eldest child of the couple. Here’s my Goodreads review:

“I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the friendship between Kate and Meg, two of the main characters. The mystery was intriguing, with enough red herrings, suspects, and twists to please any discerning mystery lover. Highly recommend!”

So, readers, what are you reading these days? Please share!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. Have you seen my new book cover? Dead, White, and Blue, Book 2 in the Juniper Junction Mystery series, will be available for pre-order soon! If this is your first time seeing it, join my newsletter by clicking here! You’ll be among the first to see my cover reveals.

What do you think??

Author Spotlight: Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Carolyn Ridder Aspenson to the hot seat. She’s here to talk about her newest release, Get Up and Ghost. Welcome, Carolyn!

Tell me about your new book.

I just published the first book in a new paranormal cozy mystery series. Get Up and Ghost is a psychic medium mystery about a woman who works for the historical society in a small North Georgia town called Castleberry. She falls down the last part of the stairs at work, bumps her head and suddenly starts seeing ghosts. She doesn’t realize it at first, but it becomes fairly obvious quickly. When a local resident is murdered, and she’s the last one to see him alive, she’s determined to prove her innocence, with the help of a long-dead woman from the town, who’s also in need of her help.

 

Who is the audience for the book?

This is a cozy, so it’s clean — no sex, no swearing, no death on the page. The main character is a mother in her mid-forties and recently divorced, with two senior aged friends and a younger coworker, so I feel like I’ve hit a lot of the variants for different types of women.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I live in the southern part of North Georgia, and I know this area well. The town is fictional, but I modeled it after a few local towns nearby to give it a traditional small town, North Georgia appeal. Since I’ve lived here for 23 years, I have a fairly decent handle on the area, and have incorporated some of the local flare and stories into this first book, and the second one I’m working on for the series. Each of the ‘haunting’ type stories (the ghosts of time past) will have a bit of truth to them for the area. Well, truth in the sense that it’s a story from here, though I’m not sure the ghosts are actually real. I’ve yet to see any, though I’ve certainly looked!

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Two things tie as the hardest part. First and foremost, I have another mystery series (it’s NOT a cozy by definition at all) with a psychic medium. I needed to make the character unique, and the storyline different. That character does make an appearance though, because she’s from an area close by. I also have another cozy series in a similar area, so I had to keep them different also. They are similar in some ways because there are two older women characters, but they are different types of older characters, and the main character is different. I’m hoping they will all be unique in their own ways.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

Oh gosh. That’s a tough one. I’m still getting to know them all. I do feel like one of the older women is a bit similar to Betty White’s character on “Golden Girls,” but I think Betty’s retired by now! I’d definitely go with a Hallmark actress, because this series has that appeal, other than the paranormal element. I could see Erin Krakow as the lead. I think the two older women would be well played by someone like Sissy Spacek. Wouldn’t that be great to have someone of that caliber in a movie about my book? Gosh, I’d be so excited!

Have you written any other books?

I have, I think, 21 books out now. Some are novellas, but I’ve got about that many published. I’ve got my Angela Panther Mystery series, which is not the cozy mysteries, and then the Lily Sprayberry Realtor Cozy series. I also have a few romances, but those weren’t my thing. I guess I’m not very romantic! I’ve also done a great deal of ghost writing, but those books are all business and nonfiction.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a partner that I swap books with and we help each other, but other than that, no. I’ve found everyone has their own unique writing style, and I don’t like to infringe on that.

Do you write every day?

Since I’m now completely self-published (I was traditional for a while, but no longer) I consider this a business and treat it as such. I write for about 5 hours a day at this point and handle other business related things for an hour or so also.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I’m such a book snob! It’s a horrible thing. I grew up reading mysteries from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to more intense thrillers by Jonathan Kellerman and the like. Hands down, my favorite writer is Robert B. Parker. The Spenser series is my favorite series. When Mr. Parker died, I cried. I am also a big fan of Robert Crais, and I love the Elvis Cole books so much.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Back in time. I’d like to go back fifteen years to when my parents were both here and healthy and spend more time with them.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I think the same thing most people would. Write every single day. Learn the craft and do what you can to improve. Hire an editor. Writing a novel isn’t easy and there is a lot to learn to make it something others want to read. Learn that ever-changing element.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have two. I love “Shawshank Redemption” because the friendship theme is astounding. I recently found out that Mr. King wrote that, (Yes, I live under a rock) and I was shocked! It’s not his typical book at all, but it was so good.

My second favorite is “When Harry Met Sally.” I just loved the concept of that and Billy Crystal? He was the perfect pick for that lead. I loved that story.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Care less about what other people think sooner.

Describe yourself in three words.

Wife. Mother. Friend.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

Nope!

Where can readers connect with you?

I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor

My website is carolynridderaspenson.com where you can access my newsletter. I send it out once a week.

And I am also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carolynridderaspenson/.

I’m not a Twitter gal. I’m Italian. I need more than a few characters to say my thoughts.

Where can readers find your books?

Right now I’m primarily on Amazon, but Get Up and Ghost is on Kobo, iTunes and Barnes & Noble for a limited time. It just released there today!

The Lily Sprayberry Cozy Mystery Boxed Set (books 1-3) are at books2read.com/u/49oGEX.

Congratulations on your new release! Thanks for visiting. 

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Interview: Summer Prescott

Today I welcome prolific USA Today bestselling author Summer Prescott to Reade and Write. Summer has written The Key West Culinary Cozies, the INNcredibly Sweet Cozies, and the Cupcakes in Paradise Cozies, to name just a few of her many series. Today she’s here to talk about Criminals and Coral, the first book in her Cozy Tales of a Professional Mermaid series.

Welcome, Summer!

Tell me about your new book.

Criminals and Coral is actually a traditional cozy mystery, with a bit of a non-traditional main character. Shelby is a professional mermaid. There’s no fantasy or mythology involved, she merely shimmies into a silicone-based mermaid tail to entertain visitors to aquariums, theme parks, beaches, etc…and somehow manages to find herself caught up in more than her share of amateur sleuthing.

Who is the audience for the book?

This book would be a great fit for anyone who loves a good mystery and is looking for a refreshingly new perspective. Animal lovers, foodies, crafters and more will love it – all of those main cozy elements are represented, and are set in a backdrop of friendship, family and fun.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

The setting is in a fictitious beach town in Florida, that is loosely based around the tourist attraction of Weeki Wachee Springs, where mermaid shows are a feature. I reached out to the Public Relations Manager of WWS for some of the research that went into the book.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

The writing of the book was actually the easy part. Co-writer Gretchen Allen and I loved the creative process. What we’ve found challenging is overcoming public perception that the book is about mythical mermaids, rather than a spunky gal from the Midwest.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I think Reese Witherspoon would be a great mermaid, and maybe Channing Tatum for her love interest and fellow sleuth.

How many other books have  you written?

More than 100. I’ve lost count at this point, lol.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I belong to several author groups and find them inspiring and informative.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day…but unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way. I’ve found that it’s best to strike a balance. We only go around on this planet once, I want to make the most of my time here.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I love mysteries and thrillers. Right now my mostly harmless addiction is Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, but I sometimes rock it old school with a healthy dose of Mary Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich, or, if we’re going waaaaay back, Stephen King.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

I’d love to visit Europe again, as an adult. I lived there when I was a child. Africa, Australia, Asia and various tropical islands are also high on the list.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write. Then write again, then write some more. I’ve seen so many hopeful writers who become so overly involved with the trappings of writing and the dream of being a writer, that they actually neglect to write. I’d also say that it’s helpful to analyze one’s goals from the outset. Your approach to writing could be different, depending upon whether you want to do it as an expression of your soul vs. as a full-time career (the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive). Goal-setting is huge, and frankly, so is having a thick skin. Not everyone will love your work and that’s okay. Sometimes we have to take a gut punch from a review, pick ourselves up and just keep on trucking.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I couldn’t possible narrow that down, lol. My movie tastes range from drama to chick flicks, action/adventure and Indie art films. I do love the cheesy ‘brat pack’ John Hughes movies from the 80’s – “Pretty in Pink,” “Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller” – those are all great escapes that I indulge in every so often.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

You’ve got the dreams, now put action to them.

Describe yourself in three words.

Introverted, compassionate, hopeful.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

No – great questions!

Where can readers connect with you?

https://www.facebook.com/summer.prescott.58

https://twitter.com/SummerPrescott1

https://www.instagram.com/summer.prescott.cozies/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCngKNUkDdWuQ5k7-Vkfrp6A

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon

Thanks for visiting, Summer!

Until next time,

Amy

I Need Your Opinion!

photo courtesy of Arek Socha/pixabay

For a while now, I’ve been debating (with myself) what kind of freebie I should offer to new and existing newsletter subscribers. The arguing-with-myself is not working. So I thought, What better way to find out which freebie to use than to ask the people who follow me?

I’ve got a few ideas, so I’m going to ask you to check the answer you would prefer if you were signing up for my newsletter today. I won’t tell you which is my favorite idea.

And remember, if you are already a newsletter subscriber, I’ll certainly offer the freebie to you, too! If you’re not a subscriber, I invite you to sign up here.

Thanks for participating!

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for May

Has anyone else noticed how quickly 2019 is going? It’s already May! The weather here in New Jersey is getting warmer and the frost-free date is upon us. It’s time for a few recipes to use springtime produce! In this post, as I’ve done a couple times in the past, I’ll post links to recipes I’ve enjoyed rather than writing out my own. Click on the title of the recipe to link to the original.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese QuicheThis recipe is one I found in Southern Living Magazine and two of my children, both of whom hate asparagus and leeks, loved it. I did have some trouble with the filling overflowing the crust, so next time I would make it in a pie plate or a springform pan rather than a tart pan.

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Spinach Salad. This salad is perfect for a light meal. If you prefer to have it with a larger meal, it’s great with pork!

Cold Sesame Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables. This is a great dish if you’re looking for something meatless (which, as I look at the recipes I’ve given you, seems to be a theme this month) and filling. Change up the vegetables you use so it’s different every time! I use peanut butter in this recipe instead of tahini or another nut butter, but I bet those substitutions would be good, too. Spaghetti works just fine in this recipe, so don’t go nuts looking for Chinese egg noodles. And one more thing: I don’t use the hot sauce/Tabasco, but I put it on the table to pass in case someone else wants it.

Let me know if you try any of these! And please remember that I love to have submissions from readers, so don’t hesitate to send me any recipes you’d like to share.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy