Author Spotlight: Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Today I welcome author Nancy Lynn Jarvis to Reade and Write. Nancy doesn’t even know this, but I have a special fondness for her books because two of them were given to me as gifts by someone many of you will remember from this blog–Sharon Aguanno. Sharon loved Nancy’s books and I credit her with introducing me to Nancy’s work.

Nancy is here to talk about her new release, The Glass House. I’m looking forward to reading this one–I wish Sharon was here to enjoy it, too.

Tell me about The Glass House.

Santa Cruz County Law Librarian Pat Pirard is living a perfect life as the book begins, but she’s unexpectedly downsized on her thirty-fifth birthday and needs to reinvent herself before her severance package runs out and she and her Dalmatian, Dot, and ginger cat, Lord Peter Wimsey, face life on a friend’s couch.

When the instructor of a glass art class Pat received as a gift is murdered and the studio’s owner is charged with killing him, researcher Pat is hired by the suspect’s defense attorney to find others in the class who may have a motive for murder. The first thing she does is order business cards proclaiming herself CEO of PIP Inc., not necessarily the first thing most underemployed amateur detectives would do, but then, most people aren’t like Private Investigator Pat.

Who is the audience for the book?

Me. Well, me at all phases of my life. I like mysteries ―the more complicated the better―don’t like to read violence and cruelty, especially as it’s happening, although I love CSI and discovering how the killing happened from a safe distance, so that’s how I write.

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?

Like most of the books I’ve written, The Glass House is set in Santa Cruz. I’m a visual writer who needs to see my setting to get the details right. I know nothing about being a private investigator, but I have a friend who does. She’s my resource, and it’s great fun to collaborate with her.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Deciding it was time. Once I got past that hurdle, it was fun. I hadn’t written a mystery in almost a year because of other projects, and realized as I wrote, that I love writing in the cozy mystery genre.

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

Let me ask the real Private Investigator Pat and get back to you on that.

Tell me about your other books.

I’ve done seven books in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series; Mags and the AARP Gang, a coming of age comedy about a group of octogenarians who decide to rob the bank holding the mortgage on their mobile home park to pay off the loan and stave off foreclosure; and a little book called The Truth About Hosting Airbnb, something I do when I’m not writing. I’ve edited Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes and Santa Cruz Weird, a short story anthology with contributions from seventeen Santa Cruz authors.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I’m not sure if I’d call my group a partnership, but ten local mystery writers call ourselves The Santa Cruz Women of Mystery. We just did our first Noir at the Bar, which was great fun. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Do you write every day?

No. I’m very lazy. I only write when the mood hits.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I like all genres except dystopic…wait, I love Margaret Atwood and she does those; and fantasy…wait, except for JK Rowling and too many authors to list; John McPhee; Amy Tan; anything historical and most non-fiction. Oh, and of course, Agatha Christie and Tony Hillerman and any mystery I can get my hands on. Unfortunately, I can usually figure out who did it by page eighty-six which is, I think, an occupational hazard of writing mysteries.

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

I have never been to Ireland, and according to Ancestry, that’s where most of my ancestors came from. It’s also definitely where my protagonist Regan McHenry traces her ancestry, so it would be fun to see.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t make excuses and don’t expect to write a perfect book. It gets easier as you practice and your writing will improve. I look back on The Death Contingency, the first book I wrote, and can see me learning as the book progresses. The Glass House is polished from page one, so I’m getting better as a writer. The most important reason to write, though, is it’s just so much fun.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I would have to say either Raiders of the Lost Ark or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, I know, I have the taste of a seven-year-old boy. The Usual Suspects is my favorite grown-up movie because it’s complicated.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do everything you can right now because you’ll be old sooner than you think.

Describe yourself in three words.

Tall, intelligent, introvert.

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

How long will you keep writing? Until it’s not fun any longer or my mind turns to mush, whichever comes first.

Where can readers connect with you?

You can click here for my website. All the books are there and most first chapters are up for you to read.

Where can readers find your books?

You can find my Amazon author page by clicking here.

The ebook version of The Glass House will go live on July 25, 2019, to be followed by a print version soon after that. Pre-order and save a couple of bucks because the price will go up after release. If you review the book and send me your email address, I’ll gift you a free copy of any other of my books that you chose.

Readers, if you want to order your copy of The Glass House, it’s only $2.99 until July 26, then the price goes up. If you pre-order the book by the 25th and email Nancy with proof of purchase and the email address of a friend, Nancy will send that friend a free copy. 

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

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Winners of Julie Moffett’s ebooks

Thanks to everyone who visited the blog and left such wonderful comments yesterday! Debby Kaye and Kathryn are the winners of Julie’s ecopies of No Money Down. I will send Julie your email addresses and she will be in touch.

Congratulations to both of you!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Julie Moffett

Today on Reade and Write I’m excited to welcome Julie Moffett, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person last summer at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. I ran into her again at the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in April of this year, and I’ll see her again soon in Suffolk! She’s a dynamo, as I’m sure you’ll agree, and a thoroughly wonderful person. She’s here today to talk about her newest release, No Stone Unturned. After the interview, keep reading for a special contest from Julie!

Tell me about your new book.

My newest book is called No Stone Unturned and it’s Book #11 in my geeky Lexi Carmichael Mystery Series. The book released last January. Here is the short blurb for the book:

Getting engaged is supposed to be a fun, exciting time in a girl’s life. But things are never that easy for Slash and me. Instead, someone is threatening to expose Slash’s past–a past so secret, even I know very little about it.

Before I can get used the weight of Nonna’s antique ring on my finger, he’s on his way to Rome…and we’re farther apart than we’ve ever been. Still, I have no intention of sitting at home and letting him take on the Vatican by himself.

With a little expert-level hacking, I learn Slash is keeping secrets from me. Big ones. Dangerous ones. In fact, the more I dig into Slash’s past, the more I discover things about him I never knew — things that eventually pit us against each other.

From Rome to the Amalfi coast to the highest levels of the Vatican, we both race to discover the truth. No matter what I find, we’re officially a team now, so I won’t let him face this alone. Even if I don’t know if our relationship can survive it.

Ooh. Sounds great. Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes mysteries, especially those set in Italy since No Stone Unturned is set there. I love to feature locations from around the globe in every book.

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

The setting was determined long ago as part of the story arc, and it takes mostly in Italy, and at the Vatican, especially.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Since a lot of the book takes place at the Vatican, I read a LOT about how the church works, Catholic history and Vatican intrigue. It was fascinating!

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

Gah! I have no idea. I like to ask my readers and see who they come up with!

You’ve obviously written other books. 

Yes! I published my first book in 1993, so I’ve been around a loooong time. I’ve published over 21 books and written a lot more of which are hidden in the proverbial “drawer.”

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

My family, my brother, sister, mother, niece and father are my critique group and they are really the only ones I let read in draft other than my editor. They do a great job!

Do you write every day?

It depends. I have a full-time job and I’m a single mom, so writing time sometimes get tight. But I try to write every day.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I have so many favorite authors it is hard to choose just a few! I am a voracious reader across almost every genre, so a good book—no matter the author—will make me happy!

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

Egypt and the pyramids! It’s next up on my bucket list!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. If writing is your dream, stick with it. It’s easy to quit, and hard to persevere, but it’s worth it!

What is your favorite movie and why?

“Star Wars, A New Hope.” Because I was transfixed by the story and completely electrified by Princess Leia. She was so strong, take-charge and cool, that I absolutely loved it!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take a leap of faith in yourself.

Describe yourself in three words.

Optimistic, kind, creative.

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

Nope.

Where can readers connect with you?

We have a ton of fun in my Facebook readers group here. I do a lot of giveaways, we love to talk books, movies and mysteries, and we are really supportive of each other. Come join us!

You can also find me on other social media platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julie_moffett/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieMoffettAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMoffettAuthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/julie-moffett

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Moffett/e/B001HMQMHU/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/190485.Julie_Moffett

Where can readers find your books?

My books are sold on just about every online platform, but you can find all the links on my website: https://www.juliemoffett.com/

Julie, thank you so much for visiting Reade and Write today!

Readers, Julie has a special treat for you. She’s giving away two ecopies of Book 2.5 in her Lexi Carmichael series, No Money Down. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment below. Good luck! I’ll randomly choose a winner Wednesday morning at 8:00 Eastern.   

Thank you so much, Amy!! ox

Until next time, 

Amy

Author Spotlight: Maria Grazia Swan

Today I welcome Maria Grazia Swan to Reade and Write. Maria is a mystery author with a novella in the soon-to-be-released collection Summer Snoops Unleashed. I’ve helped the authors of the collection promote it, and there’s one more post featuring two or three other authors coming soon.

Ready to learn more about Maria?

Tell me about your new novella.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye could be seen as a short book or a long novella. It’s about 24,000 words and will be released on July 23 as part of the boxed set Summer Snoops Unleashed, as you mentioned. The link to purchase the collection is https://books2read.com/SummerSnoopsUnleashed, and as you can see, for 99¢ readers will have plenty of stories to read. I’m honored to be in the company of such great authors.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye is part of my Baker Girls cozy mystery series. As you read this, books 1 and 2 of the series are available only on Amazon, but very soon (in about 10 days) all the books in the series will be available at all major online retailers.

Click this link to find Book 1, Cooks, Crooks and a Corpse, on Amazon.

Click this link to find Book 2, Foods, Fools, and a Dead Psychic, on Amazon.

Here are the covers of the books currently on Amazon:

I’m really excited to be able to share my new covers with you here! Drum roll, please…

Congratulations, Maria! I love the new covers!

Book 3 in the Baker Girls series, Wine, Dine, and Christmas Crimes, is available for pre-order now. Here’s a look at the cover and link to pre-order the book.

https://books2read.com/u/mY1NZV

Back to Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye. I wanted to write a short book for readers not familiar with the Baker Girls series. In this novella I introduce the main characters and the feelings driving their actions. I hope new readers will like the concept and read the rest of the series.

Readers, Maria is giving away two Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye today! All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. I’ll choose the winners tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. EST.

Maria, tell us about your other books. 

Baker Girls is my 3rd series and the first one with a Phoenix/Arizona locale/settings.

My first series is the Mina Calvi Adventure mysteries. Anyone familiar with my books knows I only write about places where I have lived or at least visited personally. The Mina Calvi series has Orange County, California, as background because I lived there while writing most of the books…

…Except for book 3, Italian Summer. I wrote that back home in Italy and it’s 60% autobiographical as it pertains to settings, feelings, and habits. OK, I’m stopping here. You’ll have to read the book to fill the blanks…

My second series is the Lella York suspense series, and those books each have a different setting. Book 1, Gemini Moon: Murder Under the Italian Moon, was based on a real deadly event. A friend of mine was shot by the spouse and her blood spattered on one of my books she had on her desk at the time. It was returned to me years later and I just had to write about the shooting.

Describe yourself in three words

Loyal, passionate, truthful.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write from the heart: readers can tell. And keep in mind no one was born a writer. While some excel at it, it’s a craft. Practice makes perfect. Never give up.

Where can readers find you?

Email: mgsweb1@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author page

BookBub 

Subscribe to my newsletter

And where can readers find your books, besides the links you’ve already provided?

I’ve written short stories and non-fiction in addition to my mysteries. Check out my website for more information on my books.

Maria has graciously provided a recipe from one of her main characters, Monica, a cook who tends to take shortcuts. There are two versions of Pasta Primavera: the regular version and Monica’s shortcut version.

Monica’s Pasta Primavera

(This version works for vegetarians. If you are following a gluten-free diet, substitute gluten-free pasta for regular pasta. You can use your favorite brand. My choice is Barilla. ~Monica)

12 ounces of pasta (I use Barilla thin spaghetti)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

½ pound broccoli, trim thick stems

½ pound cauliflower

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

***

Cook pasta according to directions.

While waiting for water to boil chop broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Once the pasta is in the pot, melt butter in large skillet over low heat, but don’t let it brown. Set aside.

Two minutes before removing the pasta from the boiling pot add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the boiling water/pasta.

Drain well pasta and veggies, transfer to the skillet with melted butter, toss well. Add heavy cream and cheese, toss some more and serve.  (4 servings)

Buon appetito!

 

Monica’s One-Pot 15-Minute version…if you dare…serves 2

8 ounces pasta (half a package) (Barilla thin spaghetti cooks in 5-6 minutes al dente)

Salt and pepper as needed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-10 ounces package frozen vegetables (I like the Oriental Stir-fry plain, but any frozen vegetables would do)

***

Cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, open frozen vegetables, discard wrapping and put vegetables in colander. Let hot water from kitchen faucet run over frozen vegetables. That way they will thaw but remain crisp.

When pasta is done, turn off faucet and pour pasta over vegetables in colander. Drain well.

Quickly return the pot in which the pasta was cooked to the same burner, add butter. Allow it to melt over a low burner but do not allow it to brown.

Pour pasta and vegetables on top of melted butter, add olive oil and toss well.

Serve with grated cheese to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds delicious! Thanks for visiting, Maria!

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

First Tuesday Recipes for July

The dog days of summer are officially here!

This is normally the time of year for grilling and no-cook dishes, but I invented a sandwich that I want to share with you. It requires actual cooking, but it’s delicious.

Sausage Sandwich Divine

4 long hot peppers

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds

2 large red peppers, seeded and sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 small can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 6-oz. can tomato sauce

4 torpedo-style rolls

8 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover lipped baking sheet with foil. Place long hots on the foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, cover bottom of pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add sausage, red peppers, and onion. Cook until sausage and vegetables are cooked through, stirring often.

Preheat the broiler.

Slice long hots lengthwise and crosswise, then add them to the sausage mixture along with the mushrooms and about half the can of sauce (save the rest of the sauce for another use, or use more of it with the sandwiches, if you’d like).

Cook mixture until heated through.

While the mixture is cooking, split the rolls and place them under the broiler for a couple minutes, until they’re just turning golden. Watch the rolls carefully!

When the rolls are lightly golden, remove them from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, place about 1/4 of the sausage mixture down each roll. Cover mixture with two slices of Provolone and put the sandwiches, open-faced, under the broiler. Broil for just a minute or two, or until the cheese has melted. Serve hot.

***

Here’s a nice, cool one that’s good to take to July 4th and other summer parties and potlucks. This salad goes by lots of names and it’s pretty popular.

Carolyn’s Salad

1 box pistachio instant pudding

2 8-oz. cans crushed pineapple, undrained

1 8-oz. container whipped topping (I use Cool Whip)

8 oz. cottage cheese

1 c. miniature marshmallows

Combine pudding mix and pineapple in a medium bowl. Stir until well blended.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until well blended. Add pistachio mixture to whipped topping mixture and stir until everything is blended. Place in a 13×9″ pan and chill.

***

And another cool salad for hot summer days. Pair this with grilled chicken or other light main course.

Almond-Raspberry Salad

8 c. Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 c. fresh raspberries

1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted

1/2 c. seedless raspberry jam

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. honey

2 T. plus 2 t. canola oil

In a large salad bowl, gently toss the lettuce, raspberries, and almonds. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients; process until smooth.

Pour over salad and toss gently until coated; alternatively, serve salad and pass dressing.

***

Enjoy!

I’m always looking for recipes from other people. If you care to share a favorite recipe, send it along and I’ll put it in a post.

Until next time,

Amy

Reading Round-Up: June Edition

It seemed like June was gone in a flash (flood–we had lots of rain), but I did manage to get a lot of reading done during the month. That is, a lot for me.

The first book I read was Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths. This was a little different from the mysteries I usually read, but I enjoyed it. It’s told from three different points of view and that kept things interesting. It was cool to see the same events from the perspectives of three characters. There are also a ton of references to other works of literature–some I knew and some I didn’t. When it’s all boiled down, the book is a murder mystery. There are some supernatural elements, which I don’t love, but I was glad the killer was a real flesh-and-blood person (and not some apparition).

Next up was The Tulip Shirt Murders by Heather Weidner. This was a great mystery, with some elements I didn’t know much about (think flea markets and roller derbies), so I learned something in the process! It features a female private investigator, which I loved, and her computer-savvy sidekick. There are a variety of red herrings, but our intrepid heroine figures things out in the end.

The Merlon Murders by Victoria Benchley is the first book in a two-book series (read: it ends in a cliffhanger, so be ready to scoop up the second book and start reading right away!) featuring a corporate investigator, Duncan, who travels to Scotland from London to check out the mystery surrounding the death of a man who left behind a fortune, an estate, and lots of questions. This book is like taking a vacation in Scotland–from the rugged mountains to the quaint villages to the culture and the food, it’s a delight for all the senses.

I also read The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald. It has recipes AGG readers will remember from the books, like raspberry cordial and gingersnaps, and they’re easy to make. The book was geared to young cooks more than I expected, but it was still a fun, easy read.

Marilyn Meredith’s Spirit Wind is the continuation of the Tempe Crabtree mysteries, and like all the others, this doesn’t disappoint. There are Native American legends and spirits, a real-life murder, and someone who doesn’t want any of it uncovered. The book is a quick read and I learned a lot about Tehachapi, an area of California that was home to the Kawaiisu tribe of Native Americans.

Last, but certainly not least, was Robert Germaux’s More Grammar Sex, a fabulous book of essays about everything from vacation after retirement to baseball to his car’s GPS system. This was an easy-to-read book of common sense things that makes an afternoon spent reading on the patio (on one of the few days when it didn’t rain) very pleasant.

What have you been reading? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time,

Amy