Photo Friday: Minuteman National Historical Park

Last week I had a couple of days to kill in the Boston area, and since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to check out Concord and the Minuteman National Historical Park. This had the advantage of also offering me a chance to check out the home--and grave--of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women and about 30 other books. Alcott's home isn't part of the park, but since it's right next door, it might as well be. I'll start with Louisa, for the literary side of this blog :) At the far left, you can see the "Hillside Chapel," built by Bronson Alcott and used for one of his schools. I believe it is once again being used for educational programs. The Alcott family, as many of my readers may know, did a lot of moving around when Louisa was young. They kept returning to the Concord area, however, and in 1858 moved into Orchard House (the tour guide there implied that Emerson may have bought the house for them; I suspect that may be true, as Bro

Cozy Mystery Spotlight: Killalot

Note: This was meant to be a review, but I failed to get the book read (too busy with the own writing this month). But I love the series—I’ve read and reviewed at least two others in the series, and thought both were top-notch. So even though I only read the first few chapters so far, I’m willing to give this a recommendation. Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)   Cozy Mystery 6th in Series   Henery Press (November 15, 2018) Hardcover: 282 pages   ISBN-10: 1635114330   ISBN-13: 978-1635114331   Paperback: 282 pages ISBN-10: 1635114306   ISBN-13: 978-1635114300   Digital ASIN: B07H3CH4RH     Publisher's Blurb: A jouster, a playwright, and a detective walk into a faire…but it’s no joke when one ends up dead. Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows is thrilled when she learns that the famous playwright behind Hello Dolly Madison is in Arizona. Not so much when she realizes he’s a suspect in the murder of a Renaissance faire jouster. As is her friend Riley. And about a thousand other peop

Picture Book Review: Pea Soup Disaster, by Elaine Kaye

I don't review picture books very often, but I won this in a giveaway, and it's awfully cute, so here it is.   Title: Pea Soup Disaster: A Gregory Green Adventure Author: Elaine Kaye Publication Info: 2018; 25 pages Source: I won this in a giveaway Publisher’s Blurb: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates. **For kids ages 5-8** My Review: This is a simple, cute story to help children understand how much bullying hurts--and how important it is to stand up to it. All r

Friday Flash: Pismawallops PTA Christmas revisited

I'm neck deep in NaNo, so no new stories right now. But this one I wrote last year is now finding its way into the new novel (bits and pieces of it, anyway). So this week and next I'll share the two-part story. Sorry about making a jump on the season, but you know those holiday bazaars have to be done early! A Pismawallops PTA Christmas “JJ, we need another table for the baked goods!” “JJ, the tree won’t light up!” “JJ, the—” I tuned out the last voice. Arne Hancock always had a crisis for me to fix. I dispatched two kids to get the table Patty Reilly needed for the brownies, and went to help Kitty Padgett with the lights that didn’t light. Kitty’s the PTA president, so she was getting her own share of people demanding instant fixes. “It’s plugged in?” I asked. Kitty gave that the eye-roll it deserved, so I added, “In an outlet that actually works?” The Pismawallops High gym needed some upgrades, no question. “I tried three outlets,” Kitty said. “It’s got to be a burned out bul

Writer's Update: How's Your NaNo?

It's almost the halfway point in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I'm well past the 25,000-word midpoint of the standard NaNo target. I'm hoping to have 34,000 or even 35,000 by the time you are reading this, and to hit the actual midpoint of my draft by the end of tomorrow (the middle of the month). Death By Library is growing fast, and I'm having fun tormenting JJ, especially with teen drama. I think I hit a good balance between planning and letting things develop as they will, and I'm having fun with my characters. I know I'm writing too much daily detail, but I've made my peace with that: I seem to need to write those details to get to what's important. I just have to be ready to deal with the mess of deleting them when the time comes (I think that also means I should probably aim for closer to 90K words than 80K for a full draft, but I'll just see how the story arcs). November can be a difficult month for the NaNo project (I have wo

Cozy Mystery Review &Tour: Thread Herrings, by Lea Wait

    Title: Thread Herrings Author: Lea Wait Cozy Mystery , 7th in Series   Kensington (October 30, 2018) Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages   ISBN-10: 149671671X   ISBN-13: 978-1496716712   Digital ASIN: B079KSZ92D   Publisher's Blurb:   Angie's first auction may turn out to be her last—when she bids on a coat of arms that someone would literally kill to possess . . . Tagging along to an estate sale with her fellow Needlepointer, antiques shop owner Sarah Byrne, Angie Curtis impulsively bids on a tattered embroidery of a coat of arms. When she gets her prize back home to Haven Harbor, she discovers a document from 1757 behind the framed needlework—a claim for a child from a foundling hospital. Intrigued, Angie is determined to find the common thread between the child and the coat of arms. Accepting her reporter friend Clem Walker's invitation to talk about her find on the local TV news, Angie makes an appeal to anyone who might have information. Instead, both women receive

Photo Friday: Baldface Mountain, New Hampshire

As we move into November, it's hard to cast my mind back to mid-September, when it was still quite warm, and the trees were mostly still green. It's nice to think about being warm, anyway, as I'm trying now to hone my cycling wardrobe to allow for at least short rides in temperatures down into the 30s! We spent the night of Sept. 14 at the Basin Pond campground in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, in order to make a very early start on the Bald Mountain Loop, since all the accounts we'd read suggested it was a long and strenuous--and the weather forecast said there'd be rain before the end of the afternoon. We drove past the trailhead on our way to camp Sunday afternoon, and the cars were parked for quite a ways either side of the lot. But at 7 on Monday morning, we had the place to ourselves. The sun was up--somewhere. We started our hike under a low layer of clouds. It took a little looking to find the trail, but we eventually got started in the right directio