Hobbies with Sherry Perkins

First, tell us what your hobbies are.

 I like to think of myself as a Renaissance Lady, with interests in many things but my go-to hobbies are collecting sea glass and seashells, organic gardening, and following the Dave Matthews Band around the East Coast.

Cool hobbies! How did you get interested in them?

I come from a family where learning, especially life-long learning, is important. Reading, hand-on participation, asking questions, storytelling and skill sharing, no matter what your age, was a big deal. It was considered a waste of your time and life if you weren’t interested and learning.

How did you learn to do them?

The seashell and sea glass bit, that was a natural outgrowth of my love for the seaside. I began collecting all sorts of organic things (think fossils) and detritus. Then, I set about learning what those things were scientifically. The intricacies of shells, ocean ecosystems and how the broken pieces of tumbled glass came to rest on that particular beach were fascinating to me as a young girl. Dave Matthews Band? That’s a mystery. Except I love the words to the songs. The melody, harmony and palpable connection between the band and audience certainly was appealing to me—if not personally meaningful.

Do you prefer some hobbies to others, or does it depend on your mood?

Not really. If I’m on the beach, I’m in the mood for shell and sea glass collecting. Every day, I try to go out to do something in the garden, even if it’s only to walk around it. I generally listen to the Dave Matthews Band when I’m in the garden, the car or when I need some background noise or inspiration while writing.

What do you do with the things you make?

I’m not making things with my hobbies per se, except, I suppose, for gardening. I do cook with the fruits and veg—or sometimes preserve, dry or freeze it for later use. I save seeds to replant or share. But I also have a flower garden. I like to do cut flowers or dried arrangements or even paint watercolors or take photograph the flowers and garden as still life.

I know a lot of people who collect sea glass have “secret” places where they find good sea glass. Do you have a spot like that?

I do. But it’s a secret. No, West Onslow Beach in North Carolina, and the East Strand in Portrush, Northern Ireland, are particularly good spots.

My husband has been to Portrush and loves it there.

Portrush was probably the best vacation I’ve ever had. The scenery was fantastic. Everyone I met was kind and had a story to tell.

Where have you visited following the Dave Matthews Band?

Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Bristow, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk, Virginia; Columbia, Maryland; New York; Augusta, Maine. 

Did someone introduce you to gardening, or did you discover it on your own?

My dad is a master organic gardener. So, I grew up learning how to garden, save heirloom seeds, companion plant and compost. When he began organic gardening, it was to supplement our family diet, and because he felt a stewardship with the land.

What special equipment do you need as a gardener?

I’m always looking for things that will make the experience easier on my hands and back. You don’t necessarily need any special equipment but if you have cheap tools, they’ll break or do a poor job. Invest in what you can afford. Take care of it with routine cleaning, sharpening, maintenance. Try to find tools that are multi-taskers. Make sure they fit your reach—garden tools do come with handles that fit your ability, height, and size. For instance, if you get a rake meant for someone tall, you’ll have a sore back and arms because of its disproportionate reach! It’s ok to take a stool or sturdy bucket into the garden to sit while you plant, weed or harvest. No need to stand or crawl. 

Is there any hobby you’ve tried to do but either didn’t like it or it just didn’t work out?

Once upon a time, I used to like to powerwalk…but I don’t think that counts, lol. I did try making poppet dolls as a hobby for a while. I had great fun with them but it was very time consuming, so I put those on the backshelf (I used to stuff them with herbs from the garden for good luck. I probably should have mentioned that in the section about “what do you make” because it was enjoyable and relaxing for me and the people who bought them)…

Now tell us about your latest writing news…

Several of my books were nominated for Best Book at the Paranormal Romance Guild 2020 Reviewers Choice Awards.

Congratulations! I want to know more about These are for Tears and A Girl and Her Dog.

These are for Tears was nominated for Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Suspense/Time Travel/Historical/Magical/Western/Native American/ Gothic BOOK OF THE YEAR and the series that it comes from (The Will-‘o-the-Wisp Stories) is nominated for the same category but SERIES OF THE YEAR.

A Girl and Her Dog placed second in the BEST NOVELLA OR SHORT STORY category.

Congratulations! That’s fantastic. 


Thanks very much for sharing your hobbies and your writing with us, Sherry. This has been a fun post, and the photos are wonderful!

Until next time,

Amy

Hobbies with Bob Spearman

In this second installment of hobbies shared by readers, I’d like to introduce you to Bob Spearman, fellow mystery writer and avid hobbyist. Bob likes to golf, beach-walk, play and collect guitars, make stained glass, and camp.

Whew. It makes me tired just writing that.

Instead of me asking Bob questions, he graciously provided me with some anecdotes about his hobbies, so I’ll share them below. He also provided photos, which are great fun. I think you’ll enjoy this.

Before we get to that, though, I want to tell you about a book Bob has coming out. I’ve read Bob’s other books and they’re very good. I’ve read an early version of the new book, Then She Was Dead, and I really enjoyed it.

Here’s a quick blurb:

Software genius, Tom Santos, wakes up in a hotel room next to a dead woman. He remembers nothing from the night before. In two hours, he is scheduled to give the product presentation of his life.

His performance might determine the success of his startup company, financial freedom for his family, and the award of a government contract valued at more than 3 billion dollars. What to do next? Run from the room or call the police. The moral dilemma haunts him.

Sinister international forces work to steal Tom’s new quantum-based security software. He becomes the prime suspect until other people start to die. And just when the police think they have solved the mystery, captured the killer, and closed the case, a twist will come that takes you back to the start.

Take it away, Bob!

Golf

Walking on the golf course keeps me healthy and gives me quiet time to think about story lines for writing. If you know a golfer, you know that most of them like to tell you about their game. If you make that mistake of a cordial comment, like, “How was your golf match?” You expect an answer like, “Okay.” Or “It was fun.”

But no, that never happens. Any true golfer will go into a detailed recap of how they almost made a certain putt, or they hit this huge drive down the middle, or they won the bet, or blah, blah, blah. The harsh reality for golfers is that few people want to hear about their golf game, so, I won’t dwell on this topic or how my handicap is dropping even as I get older, that’s for another story.

A moose joins Bob on the golf course

***

Beach Walking

We live at the beach on an island. Even in the winter, I put on my headphones, select a good audio book, and walk. I’m currently listening to Outlander. Typically, I stroll four to five miles each day, ending with a few pictures of the sunset on the west shore of our island or a herd of deer on our golf course. Walking is less interesting than golf, so I should probably proceed to more entertaining topics before your audience falls asleep.

Doesn’t this look relaxing?

***

Guitars

When I was twelve, my parents bought me a guitar and amplifier for Christmas. God bless their merry souls, we were a family of nine living in small house. You can imagine the ear-splitting squeals when I cranked the amp up and scraped a pick across the strings, all while my five brothers and one sister raced around the house playing with their toys.  Ah, good times on Christmas morning.

Given a little time with a basic guitar instruction book, I taught myself to play a few chords, and with more time, a simple song or two. I discovered that I could listen to others playing on the record player and be able to play along. Now that I can play music, I hate the formal training process. I’ve purchased the guitar theory and music theory books and videos but can’t get passed the first lesson. I’d rather just play.

My first and only live performance was with a group of college buddies that joined together to play in a college talent show. Five thousand people attended. Talk about going from zero to warp speed. I suppose the stodgy professors judging the contest didn’t recognize the genius of our music because we didn’t win the event. However, to our joy, the college students in the audience gave us a standing ovation and that seemed to make the effort worth it.

My parents attended the event. Maybe they wanted to see if their ancient investment had paid any dividends. After our performance, I took my guitar and went into the audience to sit with my parents. My dad took the guitar and put it his lap and strummed the strings a few times. He looked at me and said, “I didn’t know you could play.”

I thought, “dah,” maybe all those years he had been using a good set of earplugs.

A few years later, married with two kids, a time came when I finally had enough money to consider a new guitar, a real, big-name, quality guitar. I told my wife that it was time. It would be my Christmas present: a beautiful sunburst Charvel electric guitar with a pearl pick guard and lipstick tube pickups. Insert Tim ‘Tooltime’ Taylor sound here. If you don’t know Tim, never mind, not important.

Committed to make this purchase, I strolled into a music store, looked up at a full wall of guitars. I fell in love immediately. This guitar stood out like a bright light on a dark night, sparkling, calling my name. With my resistance down, I bought it along with a complementary Fender amplifier big enough for playing in medium sized arenas just in case I was recruited to play in another talent show. My kids said that I played too loud. I told them they were too old. I’ve only played this guitar in the house but just in case the Stones or John Mellencamp need another guitar player, I’m ready.

Since that second Christmas guitar, I’ve purchased a limited edition Fender Stratocaster, a limited addition Epiphone (Gibson) Les Paul Custom, and four acoustic guitars. I consider each guitar a work of art; each produces a different sound. The guitars all hang from the walls of my office or sit on a guitar stand for easy access throughout my house.

I have augmented the guitars with harmonicas. With a neck yoke, you can play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time. Or I hand out a tambourine and harmonicas to my grandkids and let them play along.

I’ve got a couple of favorite songs memorized so I don’t require sheet music to play: “Little Pink Houses” by John Cougar Mellencamp, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty, and “Road House Blues” by the Doors.  The harmonica sounds sweet with each one of those tunes so I can adlib to my heat’s content. Probably my favorite guitar player, my idol I should say, is or was Stevie Ray Vaughn. Unfortunately, the good, they die young.

Sometimes I play for my grandkids, they dance or play along, but my wife is my primary audience. Before retirement, some days I would come home from work and sing the happenings of the day to my wife. If bad things happened, I would use sad chords and happy chords for happy things. It was a better way of getting the hassles of the day off of my chest versus grabbing a beer and complaining half the night. Even though my singing is not up there with Elvis or Frank Sanatra, I think she appreciated my light-hearted approach to personal therapy.

Every now and then, when I least expect it, a jam session magically appears by happenstance. I’ve enjoyed those at family gatherings, guitar stores, and campfires. I love those spontaneous occasions.

My most recent acquisition is a new type of amplifier that connects via Bluetooth and an application on my iPhone. With this device, one can assign the beat, play a few chords, and then the amp will provide a background band with drums, bass, and other appropriate instruments allowing me to play lead and compose my own songs. The amp will also generate different background tracks for different genres of music like a blues track or a rock track. The amp has about a million features for adjustment of sounds and music creation. I’m using it like most people use their brains, at 10% or less.

A couple shots from Bob’s man cave

***

Stained Glass

In the late 1970’s, I decided I wanted to add stained glass windows to our new house. As you may know, stained glass windows are terribly expensive. I quickly discovered why. Besides the art and craft skills required, the work is time consuming and the glass, the quality hand-blown glass is expensive.

Being an Electrical Engineer, I knew the basics of soldering for electronics and thought, ‘how hard can it be.’ I went to a small shop in Atlanta and picked up some supplies. I soon learned to cut glass fit it into lead channels and created some small, boring pieces, but nothing worthy of mounting in the windows of our house.

I set up a shop in our garage and worked to perfect my techniques. About six months later, I invested in the small glass shop with the original owner and another fellow. We expanded, bought some serious supplies of stained glass and started teaching others the craft. We made a very little bit of money, enough to fund our stained glass addiction and keep the shop open. As I taught others, I learned more about different types of glass and how to work with soldering techniques and glass structure.

In the process, I also learned how to work with etched glass; the type you might find in restaurant windows or as standalone art. We started a class in that art as well. Etched glass, the best etched glass art, is performed with a thick piece of clear glass and a sand blasting machine. The work is strenuous, hot, and can be dangerous due to the potential of breathing in microscopic particles of sand and glass.

Soon, people were purchasing my work for their homes. I joined the Stained Glass Art Guild in Atlanta and met some really famous artists in this field who lived in the Atlanta area. These people had studied world-wide with Monks, in old European churches, and under masters who had learned the art with techniques passed down through centuries of the art. It was truly a unique group of people, or I should say artists.

As I learned more about these people, I felt like a fraud, or a pretender for even being at these meetings, but I was learning. The greatest thrill came at a guild meeting, where they had asked me to show a piece that I had done using a copper foil technique to join the glass. Most people use an H-shaped lead strip to join the glass with solder at the joints. Copper foil requires a strip of copper to be wrapped around each piece of glass and a bead of solder left in a rounded bead. The glass cutting tolerance is much more significant and the solder technique is difficult. Hot solder flows like water so one must have a certain touch.

One of the masters told me that he really admired the work and the technique with the copper foil. He then asked for advice on how to accomplish a few of the details. For the first time with that group, I felt somewhat confirmed.

In my latest works, I’ve gone for the art more than just building a window to a pattern. Picking the right colors that blend properly, using jewels or other items inlaid into the window is also fun.

We have most of the special tools now: a diamond tipped router, carbide glass cutters, lead stretchers, copper foil tools, soldering irons with rheostats for temperature control, pliers to help snap difficult hard glass, patina solutions, and more.

Most people don’t appreciate the amount of work, the hours, or the material cost for a quality window. The process is probably akin to writing; unless you have gone through the process to create a novel or a stained glass window, you might not appreciate the effort required to produce a quality piece.

I taught my wife how to do the work and she has become quite handy. Now some, 40 years later, she has probably created more pieces than I have. We have had stained glass in all of our homes since then and we often make a window for a friend or someone in the family. It’s a hobby. Making a living at this art is ‘no place for the weary kind.’

***

Camping

I’m an Eagle Scout from a family that loved camping. I’ve camped outdoors with only a tarp over my head, tents, pop-up campers, and now we have a thirty-five foot 5th Wheel. Most people tend to go larger over time. Especially, if you go camping for two years and your camper becomes your home.

My wife and I got married in the late ‘70’s. As a young engineer, I traveled with the Federal Aviation Administration installing air traffic control towers. I was on the road 100%. After two weeks of leaving my young bride in a hotel room all day, we decided to change the situation and bought a 28-foot camper.

We were the rare, pink-cheeked, young couple at campgrounds inhabited primarily by retirees as we traveled around the southeast. For almost a year, we lived the RV life. We learned a lot about the art of finding a campsite and how to set up camp with sewer hoses, water hoses, LP gas, etc. One day, we discovery that our first child would be born in a few months and that put an end to our blissful life on the road.

Later in life, with two kids, we went camping in tents. Hiking, cooking outdoors, cooking under the coals of a campfire, and telling ghost stories are all good memories, at least for me. I tried to teach my kids about nature and how to survive in the woods with the simple things.

In 2018, when I decided to retire from engineering, my wife and I worked on the idea of a dream to travel the United States and see the wonders offered in this great land. We sold our house, put many of our belongings in a storage facility, bought a 5th Wheel and hit the road.

Except it wasn’t quite that simple. If you are not familiar, a 5th Wheel trailer requires a large truck to pull it. 5th Wheels are the very large trailers you likely see on the highways that connect in the bed of the truck, not on a trailer hitch.

With our first trailer, we found out quickly that a car will not pull a large trailer up a mountain. We had to buy a vehicle capable at that time. So, this time, I was going to start out correctly, I was going to make sure we had the beef to pull us around the country. We bought an F250 Ford diesel pickup, a beast with enough power to pull two of what we were buying.

Actually, we were going to purchase a pull behind trailer, one like the one that we had lived in as newly-weds. We had convinced ourselves that the huge 5th Wheels we had seen on the Interstates were just too big. We had searched the camping trailer lots in our area for over a year and had decided on one particular pull-behind trailer. We went to purchase it, I was in the final negotiations, my wife was wandering the trailer lot, and she calls to me, “Wait a minute. I think I’ve changed my mind.” She was beaming and standing in the doorway of what would become our 5th Wheel trailer.

Now, with the change of plans, I had to get a hitch installed in the bed of my brand new truck. I felt like I was taking my baby to surgery. It was painful but necessary. We got this fancy super glide hitch that slides back and forth as you turn so the trailer will not attack the rear cab of the truck. This issue is quite prevalent, and we meant to avoid it.

There is one little problem with connecting and disconnecting the trailer to this fancy hitch; you must have the trailer at just the right height, with just the right amount of pressure on the hitch or it will not disconnect. This stubborn hitch can be quite inconvenient at a campsite late at night. But we learned, as a team to solve the problem; me in the truck putting forward and then backward pressure on the hitch, my wife standing on a small stool pulling on the hitch release until she shouts out, “Got it.” Sounds a little more dangerous than it really is, or what we thought it was.

Before we sold our house, we took our first trial-run camping trip to Myrtle Beach State Park. Blissfully uninformed, we arrive at our site at dusk, no flashlight, little training, but with a desire to start our days on the road. There was only one site left and it was difficult to back the trailer into the narrow space.

Many campgrounds are like this one. Small one-lane roads, trees, cars, other campers, and I had over 45 feet of truck and trailer to maneuver. If you watch the movie RV with Robin Williams, you will see that other campers are typically helpful in the process of other campers as they move in, set up, or depart.

On the second approach to turn into our site, we quickly drew a crowd of well-intended gawkers, fatherly figures, a swirling batch of kids, and quasi-experienced campers with a multitude of suggestions. All of them had a dog or two running around in the mix.

The sun was down and darkness engulfed the wooded campground. Other campers moved their cars, their picnic tables, and stood watch over large pine trees that I couldn’t move even with my big diesel truck. Finally, we got the trailer in the site; now for the hitch.

The hitch was persistent in its desire to stay attached to the truck. When we tried to lift it, we had no electricity. One helpful man discovered that the state park power box intended for our trailer had blown a circuit. The previous camper had melted the 50-amp circuit and that’s no easy task. Twenty minutes later a State Park Ranger arrived. An hour later, he had the entire power box replaced. We continued.

Eventually, successfully disconnected, and our utilities partially connected for the night, we were applauded by the large crowd. They went back to their campfires, and we went to our trailer. After two nights, it was time to go home, a week of rain was predicted and we didn’t see that as fun.

As we started to pull out, we noticed the overhanging tree limb. It was a stiff Live Oak, about 8 inches in, and was not moveable. To stir the pot, my wife and I had not perfected all of our signals for “Stop Idiot,” “More to the left,” or any of those things required to maneuver in spaces too small. My shy wife did not yell in time to keep me from getting into a bind almost under the oak limb. If I went forward, there was a chance of brushing the tree limb. If I went backward, I would scrap the front of the truck on a pine tree. We went forward.

As I got out to see the damage, many of the people in the peanut gallery had ceased to speak; most were looking at nothing on ground, kicking the sand around. That’s when the Ranger said, “I should have shut down the one way road and helped you do out that way.” He wanted to pull the words back into his mouth after he saw my look. I replied, “That would have been a good idea about twenty minutes ago.” An uncomfortable silence wafted through the oak trees. An elderly camper patted me on the back and went to the toilet house next door.

The trailer had sustained a rip on the roof about 24 inches long. With nothing to be done but get it fixed before the rains hit, we hauled it back to the dealer. The maintenance man inspected the scar, scratched his scruffy beard, and said, “Can’t patch that, you’ll need a new roof.”

5th Wheels have fabric roofs coated with a beige tar like material. I was disturbed to find out that if you have a significant tear on an edge, the entire roof must be replaced. Four thousand dollars later, I called the insurance company. The lady said, “So, you bought it on Wednesday and you are filing this claim on Saturday?” I asked if there was a better day to file the claim.

The insurance company paid the claim, the trailer was repaired, we sold our house, and hit the trail. We went down to Florida to visit our kids. Then we headed west straight up through Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and eventually back to South Carolina.

This country is blessed with beautiful landscapes that are not located along the Interstates or near towns with four-star resorts. This country is best viewed with a camper on the back of your truck. You must get away from the bright lights, and take the roads less traveled. Many of these roads are well-maintained four lane highways with no traffic.

Yellowstone, Carlsbad, the rocky coast of Oregon, the western wilderness of Montana, Lake Tahoe, the red rocks of Utah, the redwood forest of northern California just to name a few. Some of the locations that I didn’t mention don’t jump out at you. The people who live in some remote ranches and small towns are key. Meeting the people will set you back to contemplate how much we are alike but yet how different we live.

When camping, if you find a town with a Dollar General store, you know that supplies are available and the town might also have cell coverage. If a town has a Walmart, well that’s just the ‘bees-knees.’ You learn to appreciate the little things and how some people live in our country without the convenience of everything you want at the corner store. But in this lonely land, the beauty abounds.

When camping off the beaten path, you will learn about which conversion plug is required to get electricity if it’s available. You learn about where to get water, how much to store in your camper, and you also learn how to get reservations at the next stop. It’s not easy to plot out two months of camping sights. Camping has become so popular, especially near our national parks, that one must reserve a site six months, or sometimes a year in advance.

We did succeed in plotting our way but only with much effort and a large calendar to mark down our days and locations. We also kept a Road Map Atlas with us because, as I said, sometimes we had no cell coverage to get a GPS electronic map.

We found our way back to South Carolina and Edisto Beach campground where you can hear the ocean roar from your camper. We landed at this little paradise just as Covid-19 sunk it claws in our carefree world. Suddenly, campgrounds began to shut down. Noting was available and you have to be somewhere.

We had been looking at the possibility of buying a home at Edisto and Covid cinched the deal. After almost two years on the road, changing locations every three to six days, we were forced to settle down. Our trailer is parked and waiting for our next adventure.

If you are interested in pictures of some of the beautiful locations along our trail, please go to my Face Book page and look at pictures and comments from August 2018 through May 2020. You might also have fun reading a short story about our escape from a grizzly bear in Montana on Booksie.com. https://www.booksie.com/portfolio-view/bob-spearman-269105/page-1

***

Thanks so much for being my guest this week, Bob. This has been fascinating and I love all the photos.

Until next time,

Amy

Interview with Stefanie Gouviea

Several weeks ago I put out a call for readers to share their hobbies with all of us as we all continue to spend more time at home than in previous years. Several people responded with their favorite pastimes, and I’m thrilled to share my interview with reader Stefanie Gouviea.

Welcome, Stefanie!

First, tell us what your hobbies are.

I like to read, paint and make homemade candles.

How did you get interested in them?

I only recently became interested in reading when I learned about the “Cozy Mystery” genre, and now I’m hooked. I became interested in making candles because I like to make things with essential oils and I wanted to make more homemade gifts, so this year I decided to make candles for everyone and I really enjoy it. I became interested in painting because I have attended a few paint nights in the past and found them very therapeutic, but since COVID they’ve been cancelled, so I had to figure out a way to still paint even though I am not a professional artist.

A great way to display tea cups and saucers

How did you learn to do them?

I learned how to make candles through Pinterest (love Pinterest), I reviewed a few different recipes and articles until I found one that resonated with me, then I came up with the idea to make teacup candles and looked up some ideas on Pinterest. The paintings I am doing now I discovered through Facebook events, this artist does live tutorials and records them, or you can just buy the recording and follow along like I did so I could take my time and pause as much as I needed to. This was the first time I’ve ever used a recorded tutorial to paint since my previous experience was in person paint nights.

How long did it take you to become proficient?

I don’t think that I am proficient in painting at this time, but I have added additional tutorials to try and suspect I will get better as I keep practicing. I became more proficient in candle making after making several test candles using different types and amounts of oils. I still don’t add color to them, but they smell good.

Do you have certain times when you prefer to paint and certain times when you prefer to make candles?

Not really, I generally prefer to do them on the weekends because I am too tired to focus during the week at the end of my workday. It breaks up my weekend nicely, especially since we can’t really go anywhere.

What special equipment do you need to paint and make candles?

The tutorials I use for painting only require us to have paints, paint brushes and either a canvas or multimedia paper. The artist teaches you how to mix colors and blend, so you don’t need extra equipment. For candle making you need, wax (I use soy wax flakes), a kitchen scale, essential or fragrance oils if you want them scented, a heat safe measuring cup or tin for candle making (I use a tin), a pot with water (candle making uses a double boiler method), wicks and a candle holder/container. Most wax kits online come with wicks, so I didn’t have to worry about that and you can get creative with the candle holders.

Do you have a favorite painting? Would you be willing to share a photo of it?

I’ve only done two paintings so far, but the one I like the most is titled, “Midnight Snowman” and I will share a picture of it.

Isn’t this adorable??

How about a favorite candle scent/color? Do you have photos you can share?

I don’t add color to mine because I feel like it doesn’t burn right when I do, and I don’t have a favorite scent since I like all of them for the most part, but if I had to choose, I’d say the fruity ones smell the best (strawberry, mango, honeydew melon, cucumber melon). Yes, I can share two pictures of two types of teacup candles I made.

I love the see-through cup.

Does anyone in your family help you with projects?

No, I prefer to do these projects alone. Although, I think my husband is going to do a painting with me one night, so I’m looking forward to that.

Is there any hobby you’ve tried to do but either didn’t like it or it just didn’t work out?

I’ve tried watercolor painting and jewelry making, but I didn’t like either one.


Thanks so much for sharing your interests, Stefanie. It was a pleasure hosting you here this week.

Until next time,

Amy

Working Without Play?

Do you have a hobby?

Something you love to do in your spare time? Something you have a passion for? Something you love to share with other people?

I have lots of hobbies. I know I’ve mentioned here on the blog that I’ve recently taken up quilling, which is the art of paper filigree. I’m still an amateur, but I love to do it and I find it relaxing and a great way to let my mind wander. I also like to do counted cross-stitch, a hobby I’ve had since I was young. And you all know I love to read and cook. I also love to make gift tags.

There are other things I love to do, too, but these are some of my favorite ways to spend free time.

What do you love to do?

I’d love to spotlight some of my readers’ hobbies. Do you paint? Draw? Write poetry? Swim? Do Pilates? Play the ukelele? Do you do some other cool thing that I haven’t even thought of?

This year I’d love to start a series of blog posts about hobbies. We all learned in 2020 that having a hobby not only helped pass the time when we might have been out doing other things, but it could also mean the difference between happiness and depression.

It doesn’t have to be something that costs a cent. It doesn’t have to be something that requires a membership or a bunch of fancy equipment. All that a hobby requires is that it’s something you can do in your spare time that makes you happy.

Once a month, I’d like to write about a reader’s favorite hobby. If you’d like me to interview you, that would be great. If you don’t want me to mention your name but still want to introduce people to your favorite hobby, also great.

My hope is to introduce readers to things they might never have tried.

Will you join me? I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know in the comments below or email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me about your favorite things to do!

I’ll leave you with some photos of quilling projects I’ve done since August, when I started the craft.

Until next time,

Amy

Author Interview: Cindy Davis

Today I welcome author Cindy Davis to Reade and Write. I met Cindy on Twitter and was drawn first to the descriptions of her mysteries. As I learned more about her, I found that she also writes non-fiction books on topics ranging from self-editing to online dating to small dog breeding and more. She is originally from New Hampshire, but now enjoys living in Florida. So let’s get started.

Tell me about your mystery books.

A Little Murder is the first of my 6-book series set at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. Angie Deacon is a high-maintenance ER nurse who buys a day of fishing for her husband’s birthday. A murder on the boat causes her to learn things about herself that were probably better off not brought out in the open.

Who is the audience for the series?

I write very complex plots with lots of twists and turns, so people who enjoy that sort of thing like my stories. I’ve never had anyone say they knew whodunit. Well, except that one person who said they knew on the first page, which was impossible because the murderer didn’t show up that early.

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 lived in New Hampshire at the time. I loved the Lakes Region with its beautiful scenery and small town charm. The setting provided many unique places to set murders. When I say that in mixed company (authors and regular people) I get a mixture of reactions. I was on the craft fair circuit and spent a lot of time there.

What was the hardest thing about writing the A Little Murder?

Deciding to add a police detective. When I set up the series, I determined it would be different from mysteries you buy at the bookstores—the books where you can tell the killer by page 5. I didn’t want police or a detective because they appear in all the stories. But by the time the murder happened in A Little Murder, I’d realized I needed someone to play off Angie—someone who could provide her with legitimate information by which to solve crimes. Detective Colby Jarvis was born. He’s a bit overweight and balding, a widower who works to keep from having to think about his life.

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

I can’t really answer this because I don’t watch television and I see very few movies. Although I always envisioned Cameron Diaz as Angie. FYI, the series is currently with a scriptwriter for submission to TV.

Have you written any other books?

I have a three-book cozy mystery series which features two thoroughly opposite women Phoebe (don’t call me that unless you have a death wish) Smith & (ex-Susie Homemaker) Westen Hughes. They are high-end insurance investigators. I developed this series to get away from murder mysteries and have some fun. I also have two stand-alone mysteries and two women’s fiction. See links below.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I belonged to a writers group for more than ten years. It was the best thing I ever did for my writing development. We ended up being good friends. The group only disbanded because three of us moved away. The right group can provide mentoring, education, and lifelong friendships.

Do you write every day?

Pretty much. I’m also an editor and sometimes my day job gets in the way. I’m currently working in a whole new genre—New Age. The first book is co-authored with my husband and is with our agent now.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I don’t really have a favorite genre. I enjoy any book that’s well written. Consequently, I have a number of favorite authors. A British author from the 70s, Ruth Rendell does amazing development. Ken Follett and James Michener feature amazing plots. Sandra Brown’s mysteries and Melinda Leigh’s emotion. I especially enjoyed Gone with the Wind because it incorporated adventure, history, romance, and even humor.

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

Rick and I have a ginormous bucket list. We’re going to Macchu Picchu, Peru, in December. Book three in the New Age trilogy will be set there, so it’s as much research as fun. We’re checking prices to Italy right now. Since I’ve already been there, I think my biggest bucket list item is to ride the Orient Express.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Two things. Never think you’re done learning. Keep striving to improve your writing skills. And second, get your book edited. Not by an English teacher. I know I’ll take some flack for this and I agree that teachers are awesome for punctuation and grammar, but they aren’t trained in story development or the fine-tuning it takes to bring your story to the next level—things like filter words, head hopping, and show don’t tell.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I stopped watching television and movies many years ago but I guess I’d say Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. I liked the quirky humor and adventurous, unique plot.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Gosh, so many things. I guess I’ll stick with the topic of writing and say I wish I’d started honing my craft earlier in my life.

Describe yourself in three words.

Youthful, curious, sarcastic.

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

Where I met my husband: Match.com. LOL. Just kidding, but I always like to talk about that. But no, your questions really made me think.

Where can readers connect with you?

I hang out on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are on Amazon and my website.

Thanks so much for having me here. It was great fun.

And thank you, Cindy. It was lovely having you here. 

Until next time,

Amy

Author Interview: Jenny Kales

Today we’re celebrating the release of A Stew to a Kill, Book 4 in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series by Jenny Kales.

Welcome, Jenny! Congratulations and happy book birthday!

Jenny has a busy day planned with book launch festivities, but she’s here for an interview about her characters and her books.

The main character in the series, Callie Costas, is the owner of Callie’s Kitchen; each book in the series finds Callie dealing with various seedy elements of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. In A Stew to a Kill, a new employee in a neighboring shop, Tea for Two, is found murdered and Callie finds herself being drawn into the murder investigation. And when an old boyfriend shows up in town with his sights set on developing a mall that will hurt the small business vibe in Crystal Bay, Callie begins to wonder if his sudden appearance has anything to do with the murder.

I love Jenny’s books and I’m eager to read A Stew to a Kill.

So Jenny, tell us how you came to choose the setting of Crystal Bay, WI, for your series.

Two reasons that I created this fictional town: I love Wisconsin and I wasn’t coming across cozy mysteries set there. That got me thinking. The next time I visited the Geneva Lakes region of Wisconsin, a beautiful area filled with lakes, small scenic, towns, colorful local history and a bustling small community combined with tourists, I looked around and thought: this is it! Also, there is a presence of Greek people in the community, though it is small.

Specifically, I based Crystal Bay on the Lake Geneva and Williams Bay area of Wisconsin. Because I wanted to take liberties with the location, I decided to combine the two into one town: Crystal Bay. I visit the area often and have come up with my mystery ideas each time. It’s fun!

Are the recipes in your books ones that come from your own collection? Are there recipes you’ve wanted to include in the books, but didn’t?

Recipes come from my own collection, including family recipes from my husband’s side of the family. Now, sometimes Greek recipes are hard to track down because nobody writes them down and would look at you oddly if you asked for that. They seem to be absorbed through the DNA! I’ve been lucky in two ways regarding Greek family recipes. My husband’s grandmother (YiaYia) was involved in a 1950 Greek Orthodox Church cookbook produced in 1950. Several copies survived and were gifted to new members of the family. This book is amazing! True, I have tweaked many recipes for fat content here and there, but these are true-blue recipes and they are fabulous. Several years ago, my sister-in-law commissioned a family cookbook and captured many elusive recipes that we now all have.

There are always recipes I’m not able to include, but I try to find some way to share them. For example, I did not include Callie’s “Speedy Pastitsio” recipe in my latest book even though it is mentioned, because I just had too many other recipes to include. However, I plan to include the recipe in a newsletter soon, so make sure that you’re signed up! Speedy Pastitsio is my own creation and my whole family loves it.

Your knowledge of Greek food and culture is obvious, but in a beautifully subtle way. Have you been to Greece?

I have not been to Greece. My husband has been there several times and was briefly a student there. He also worked on an island for a while, many years ago. I get a lot of my knowledge from him! However, I’m hoping we can go at some point because I plan to set my next Callie novel in Greece!

Can you share something about your main character, Callie, that most readers don’t know?

She’s afraid of the dark! Not so convenient for her, considering she keeps finding herself in dangerous situations that often involve it.

Who are some of your favorite cozy authors?

So many! To name a few: Dianne Mott Davidson, Leslie Meier, Lorna Barrett and two I am lucky enough to call friends: Linda Reilly and new author Debra Sennefelder. This isn’t everyone, of course, so I guess you could say I love cozy mysteries, period.

When you’re writing a novel, do you read within your genre, or do you, like many authors, read only books outside your genre when you’re deep into the writing process?

I try to avoid cozy mysteries when I’m deep into writing a novel. One, because I don’t want to unconsciously copy anyone and two, because I don’t want to feel inferior to the author I’m reading, lol. You never want to let the self-doubt creep in while you’re writing. I like to read historical fiction, contemporary fiction, “detective” fiction like the Shetland novels and suspense when I’m writing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time outdoors, travel with my husband and family, hang out with my kids, bake and cook, of course, and browse vintage stores. I love vintage clothing, cookbooks, jewelry and I collect classic Nancy Drew novels. I also love to read, (no surprise) and I love mystery TV like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. She is my idol.

Where do you do your best writing?

Not at home! I have two favorite libraries where I have written most of my books. The key is to find a library with a “quiet room,” and then I go to town.

Do you have a favorite character in your Callie’s Kitchen series? Who is it and why?

That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say George, Callie’s father. I can picture him so clearly in my mind’s eye and his dialogue just flows out of me. Also, he’s funny, sometimes unintentionally, protective to a fault, but loving as can be.

What’s next for Callie?

She is about to set off on a big adventure! I can’t give too many spoilers but as I said above, I’m about 90% sure I will have her visiting Greece and, of course, encountering a mystery there.

Thank you, Amy, for having me on your blog today. It was a lot of fun!

It was my pleasure. Congratulations and best wishes for lots of success with the new book! Readers, you can find A Stew to a Kill by clicking here or by clicking on the picture at the top of the post.

Jenny has a seasonal newsletter: sign up here!

To learn more about Jenny, visit her online!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram

Pinterest

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Author Spotlight: DB Corey

Today I welcome DB Corey to Reade and Write. I had the pleasure of meeting DB and his wife, Maggie, at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in August and they are both charming and fun. DB is here to talk (with his characteristic razor-sharp sense of humor) about his newest release, The Lesser Sin. His first novel, Chain of Evidence, has garnered some incredible reviews on Amazon and I need to add both his books to my TBR.

Tell us about your new book.

Law Abiding Citizen meets Femme Fatale. The Lesser Sin is the first in a two-part series—a dark thriller, it’s the tale of Hanna Braver, a CIA sniper that leaves Afghanistan to hunt down the man that got away with the brutal murder of her sister. A devout Catholic, Hanna struggles with the concepts of her faith as love of family compels her to seek justice by committing the most grievous of Mortal sins, jeopardizing her Immortal Soul in the process.

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone compelled by the anti-hero plotline. Anyone who cheers a progressively gritty protagonist that does the wrong thing, for the right reason … and begins to like it.

Tell us 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?

Choice – The book is set in the tristate area of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Virginia was easy because Hanna works for the CIA, and headquarters (Langley) is in Virginia. Maryland because I am so familiar with the area, and Delaware because of its rural characteristics and summer resort action.

Research – I did Google Earth searches on the eastern shore area of Delaware, and several on Virginia—primarily the Langley compound. After the late-night knock on my door, I explained to the Feds that I was writing a book and that was the reason for my surveillance of Spook Central. After reading the manuscript, they decided not to put me in jail, but only because they liked the book. Said it made the agency look good. (OK, I’m only kidding, but one must be careful of what one Googles). Additionally, I spoke with local police agencies in all three states and a couple former CIA types (Retired), one of which happens to be a fellow author, and one a Beta reader and fan. A Roman Catholic priest rounds out the research pool. I was very careful as to what I asked. I don’t want to be looking up, after I’m gone.

Choice – I chose these three states because of their proximity to each other. Hanna is hunting Daemon Goode. I didn’t want it to be too easy for her.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

As suggested by the title, a religious thread runs through this story: confessions, Bible passages, prayers and the like. There’s even a little Latin for those linguists and priests out there. I maintain religion in this tale as barrier, an obstacle that forces Hanna to come to terms with it, but I didn’t want the Faith component to hijack the story or have it come off as “preachy.” One reviewer pointed out that it wasn’t, so I must have succeeded. I wanted to weave it in as a character in the book, much like The DaVinci Code or The Exorcist. Not as an entity unto itself.

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

Ah, dreams. Hanna Braver – Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Cole – I lean toward Lance Reddick (The Fringe, Bosch), but he’s a bit tall for the character. Hanna is taller than Cole, but so was Jack Reacher vs. Tom Cruise, so I’ll leave that open for now.

Have you written any other books?

Sure. One really bad one (sitting on the shelf at home), and Chain of Evidence, my first novel published to rave reviews (Amazon).

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I was when I started writing, stayed with a critique group for a year or so, but dropped out after that. I found that some of the folks in the group had a thin skin, and served up more resentment than constructive criticism. But, http://www.writing.com is a writer’s community, and that worked out well for me.

Do you write every day?

I try, but holding a day job makes it difficult to stick with it (sadly, writing has not provided a living wage. Yet. But I am hopeful).

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I like thrillers, mystery, crime, humor, horror, and sci-fi. Writers? Same as most, I suppose: Patterson, King, Clancy, Cornwell, Flynn and the like. But those are easy, they’re so well known. I really enjoy reading books from writers that I know personally; colleagues I meet at festivals and conferences. The last one I read was Sand and Fire by Tom Young—an excellent military yarn by a great writer, fellow flier, and personal friend-o-mine.

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

Singapore and Ireland. Maybe Hawaii if my wife would let me. All those grass skirts….

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t let frustration deter you. READ the writers you admire—their first books. Learn from what they did. How they did it. Especially their first chapter.

Learn how to grab your reader early. That is paramount!

Oh … and don’t quit your day job.

And while you’re at it, read:

The First Five Chapters – Noah Lukeman

Hooked – Les Edgerton – another personal friend-o-mine

What is your favorite movie and why?

God, so many. Scent of a Woman, The Sandlot, The Green Mile, A Christmas Story … more.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stay 30.

Describe yourself in three words.

Generous, Considerate, Optimistic … so optimistic.

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

“What are you working on now?”

Well, since you asked, Amy, I’m writing the follow up to The Lesser Sin. No title yet, but the obvious choice is The Greater Sin. And I have another series on the backburner I really want to write: a near-future thriller revolving around a young girl and the grandmother that raised her, taken against her will by a desperate government. And then there’s a second in The Moby Truax (Chain of Evidence) series. So much to write, so little time.

Where can readers connect with you?

Facebook

Website (has my email link)

Twitter 

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

Pronoun

Google Play

Thanks so much for stopping by, DB! Best wishes with The Lesser Sin.

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Spotlight: Kristina M. Stanley, Part Two

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Kristina M. Stanley back to the hot seat. You may recall her last visit, during which she discussed her book Avalanche (which I’ve read and can highly recommend). You can read that post here if you’d like. Kristina is here today to talk about her new book, Look the Other Way. Welcome, Kristina!

Tell me about your new book.

LOOK THE OTHER WAY: A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace his last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing their 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers some dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send all three of them to the depths.

Who is the audience for the book?

Look the Other Way is for mystery readers who like to read books with a little adventure and a little romance.

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 wrote the first draft during the summer of 2012, but long before that my life had already started to influence what I would write. In the fall of 2009, my husband, Mathew, and I started our journey across the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas. We were aboard our catamaran, Mattina, feeling pretty good about the day…

But no matter how much you plan, the weather can sneak up on you.

We set out from the Florida coast at 11 at night in flat seas, low winds and a perfect weather forecast. Just enough wind to keep our sails up and the boat moving at 6 to 8 knots.

By the next morning, the wind and seas grew. You can see by the foul weather jacket Mathew is wearing that we knew a storm was coming.

Little did I know this day would be research for Look The Other Way.  Bigger seas, stronger winds. Too bad I’d put the camera away.

The bilge pump started – which it shouldn’t if the bilge is dry – and my adrenaline rose. Did we have a leak? Were we taking on water? Now, I can’t ruin the surprise, because I used this adventure in one of the scenes in Look The Other Way

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Keeping track of the wind direction and what tack the boat was on.

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

I’d love to see Jennifer Lawrence play the part of Shannon Payne.

Tell us about your other books.

I’ve written the Stone Mountain Series. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCHE are the first three in the series. They take place in the depths of the British Columbian Mountains. All three are mysteries. I guess I love to write about places I’ve lived.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I write best when I’m alone. I have beta readers, but I don’t belong to a critique group. I live in the remote mountains of British Columbia, Canada, so there aren’t many writers around. There are a lot of bears, but they don’t help much…

Do you write every day?

I’ve never been a person who writes every day, except when I’m participating in Nanowrimo (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this reference, it’s National Novel Writing Month–November).

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I read almost exclusively mysteries, but I don’t have a favorite author. I like to read as many different authors as I can. I find a lot of them through my Mystery Monday series where other authors give writing tips and talk about their latest book. If anyone is interested in guest blogging, just let me know. I’m now scheduling for 2018.

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

I like to be with my husband anywhere we can be active outside.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write a lot. It’s like anything else you do. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

Describe yourself in three words.

I’m going to give you a sentence instead of three words: Do the fun bits first!

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

I’m the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations, a company started to help writers rewrite better fiction. I love the self-editing process and want to help other writers learn how to do a structural edit on their own work.

Where can readers connect with you?

www.KristinaStanley.com

Https://Fictionary.co 

Where can readers find your books?

All of my books are for sale on Amazon.  (http://amzn.to/28Qxdcs)

Thanks for visiting, Kristina! Good luck with your new book–I’m really looking forward to it!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: D.H. Gibbs

Today on Reade and Write I welcome D.H. Gibbs, author of the new sweet romance short story A Touch of Kindness. Like other authors I have interviewed recently, D.H and I are in a Facebook group together. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I typically interview mystery authors, but I enjoyed D.H.’s children’s book, Don’t Go Mango Picking, so much that I thought it would be fun to learn more about her. Welcome, D.H.!

Tell me about your new book.

My new book is called A Touch of Kindness. It’s a sweet romance story about a woman named Mali who grew up thinking that everyone needs a little kindness to help them find their way. When she meets Quin this is what she does. She helps him out of a sticky situation. Of course Quin has secrets that has her wondering what she got herself into.

Who is the audience for the book?

This book is for anyone who likes romance, sweet stories and Cinderella.

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 chose the setting because it reminded me of New York City, where everyone is so busy they hardly see each other as they pass by.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Finding the time. I was literally writing the story using pen and paper every moment I got.

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

Meghan Markle would be Mali and Patrick J. Adams would be Quin. I think they have great onscreen chemistry.

Have you written any other books?

Yes I have. I have two children’s’ books: Danny the Firefly and Don’t go Mango Picking. I also have a YA fantasy called Nika. The second installment for that book will be released this October, following an August cover reveal.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have joined one or two critique groups but I have not actively participated due to time constraints. But I have a group of awesome friends who do not hesitate to pull my story apart if need be (LOL).

Do you write every day?

I try to but it does not always happen. I think I write more in bursts.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

Currently my favorite authors are Sarah J. Mass, Kresley Cole and JR Ward. I like fantasy, paranormal, romance and mysteries best. But I usually ready anything that’s fiction.

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

Italy, Spain, Greece and of course Japan.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you really want it never give up. If someone had told me 15 years ago I would be doing this I would have told them they were drunk. But here I am taking these steps, climbing the hurdles, and enjoying the satisfaction I get when I complete a story.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Pride and Prejudice. I like the old mannerisms of the characters. The traditions and the entire pomp and air of everyone in the story.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Write more.

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined, Creative, Passionate.

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

Not that I can think of (LOL).

Where can readers connect with you?

They can find me online at the following places:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dhgibbsauthor

Website: www.dhgibbs.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dhgibbsauthor

Newsletter, where readers can find out about upcoming releases: http://newsletter.dhgibbs.com/subscribe

Where can readers find your books?

All my books are on Amazon  but Nika is also on Google Play, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks.

Thanks for visiting today, D.H.!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: John Lindermuth, Part Two

Today on Reade and Write I’m pleased to welcome back John Lindermuth. He’s here today to discuss his new re-release, The Tithing Herd. You may recall reading about him on Reade and Write about a year ago, when he visited to talk about two of his other books, Something So Divine and Shares the Darkness (if you’d like to take a look at that post, you’ll find it here)

Tell us about your new book.

The Tithing Herd might best be described as a traditional Western. That is, like other traditional Westerns, it might be seen as a morality play. It features an ex-lawman (hero) faced with first a moral crisis (does he seek revenge or justice? Should he seek revenge on those who murdered his brother rather than depend on the law to judge them?) and then a more physical challenge when the outlaws kidnap the woman he loves.

I should mention The Tithing Herd was originally published in electronic format several years ago by The Western Online, which has since gone defunct. I’m pleased Sundown Press decided to resurrect it in both print and electronic formats.

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Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes a good story with adventure, suspense and a bit of romance.

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 story is set in New Mexico in the 1890s. The idea had its germination when I read about cash-strapped Mormons gathering herds of cattle and sheep to pay their tithe to the church. The plot developed from there.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

A story based in an historical era and/or setting requires more research than, perhaps, a contemporary tale. But I don’t consider that a hardship. I love research, though it can sometimes lead off into some unusual tangents.

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

If Hollywood should decide to make that kind of offer, I’d be delighted. Meanwhile, I’ll be happy if people find the premise interesting enough to want to read it.

Tell us about your other books, for those who may not have read your post from last year. 

The Tithing Herd is my 16th published novel. The majority are mysteries of one kind or another, including seven in my Sticks Hetrick series. This is my second (official) Western. I say that because though my Sheriff Tilghman series is set in the 19th century in Pennsylvania the first two books were billed as Westerns by the publisher.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I’ve never been in a traditional critique group but I do exchange views with some other writers and we do give one another feedback.

Do you write every day?

I think it’s a good practice and I try to do something every day, even if it’s no more than some scribbling in my journal. I don’t lock myself into a prescribed word count.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I’m a serial reader. I read both fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, mysteries probably top the list but I also read many other genres as well. In non-fiction, anything that rouses my curiosity. Authors? Too big a list to mention and I’m constantly discovering new ones–both famous and unknowns.

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

Given a time machine and a good supply of penicillin, Africa in the 1920s/’30s. Aside from that, another trip to Mexico; a visit to South Korea to see all the changes since I lived there in the 1960s, and England.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The same given by Stephen King and many others–read a lot and write a lot. It’s the only way to learn–and a heck of a lot of fun.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I’ve said this often before–The Gods Must Be Crazy I and II. Epic comedies with insight into human nature. Jamie Uys was a genius. And then there’s Hitchcock and the Coen brothers. So many other good films in so many classic genres, including drama, Westerns, mysteries.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Why wait so long to do the things you really want to do?

Describe yourself in three words.

Patient, loyal, driven.

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

What’s next? A publisher has the next Sticks Hetrick, another publisher has the next Sheriff Tilghman, and I’m nearing 20,000 words on another Western.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: http://www.jrlindermuth.net

Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.lindermuth

Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrlindermuth

Where can readers find your books?

Sundown Press.com, Amazon, B&N, most everywhere good books can be found.

Thanks for stopping in today, John! It was a pleasure having you back on Reade and Write.

Until next time,

Amy