Reads

Summerween TBR

Who says you have to wait until October to read spooky books? Well, that’s where Summerween comes in. Have you heard of it? Have you participated in this annual readathon? Well, if you haven’t heard of it, I’m happy to share the details about it with you.

In a nutshell, Summerween was created by two Youtubers. OliviaReadsALatte and GabbyReads came up with this fabulous idea and I stumbled upon it last year through booktuber, AlexandraRoselyn. Now, it’s my understanding that Summerween happens during one week in July. I missed it last year and this year I just couldn’t participate for a few reasons. First, it’s rare that I can read one book in a week, much less two or more. Second, I had deadlines in July. I had revisions for HOW THE MURDER CRUMBLES and then I got proof pages for SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS. Honestly, after reading those two manuscripts, I had no energy or interest in reading a book. And, lastly, I just don’t feel the fall/Halloween vibe in July. Nope. But August? I’m all about pre-fall.

It’s in August that my thoughts start drifting towards the autumn season (it’s only about six weeks away!) and I start pulling out the fall decor. It’s when I’m itching to bake pumpkin bread and slip into a cozy sweater. It’s also when I’m over the heatwaves and humidity, so I need something to look forward to. So, I’ve decided it when I celebrate Summerween. Not just for one week. But for the whole, freakin’ month!

So, I decided that I would celebrate Summerween in August. The whole, freakin’ month! I selected one novella and two novels. Given that I got revisions back for HOW THE MURDER CRUMBLES and proof pages for SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS, I may not finish my short TBR list this month, so I plan to carry over the books into September.

Here are the three books I plan on reading for Summerween. In the Haunted House anthology, I’m reading Death by Haunted House.

 

WITH A SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE BY LENA GREGORY

Psychic Cass Donovan must uncover the truth about long-buried secrets and recent murders to bring peace to a troubled spirit and bring justice to a flesh-and-blood killer . . .

When the spirit of Ophelia Wilson turned to clairvoyant Cass Donovan for help, Cass was able to prove Ophelia’s innocence in the century-old murders of her family members—and solve a contemporary murder in the process. But Ophelia’s spirit has returned, this time angrily demanding that Cass expose the identity of whoever did kill her family. And then eerily, two descendants from the Wilson family tree are murdered, suggesting that Ophelia has the power to meddle in modern-day events to satisfy her rage.

As Cass struggles to solve the two recent murders and unravel the sparse clues about murders from a hundred years ago, she and those around her begin to suffer Ophelia’s wrath—including an attempt on the life of one of Cass’s closest friends. Relying on all of her own psychic powers, Cass has to confront the spirit’s hunger for vengeance and track down a merciless killer before she becomes the next victim of both . . .

 

HAUNTED HOUSE MURDER BY LESLIE MEIER, LEE HOLLIS, BARBARA ROSS

Tricks and treats keep the Halloween spirit alive in coastal Maine. But this year the haunted house theme is getting carried a little too far . . .
 
HAUNTED HOUSE MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
Newcomers to Tinker’s Cove, Ty and Heather Moon have moved into a dilapidated house reputed to be a haven for ghosts. Now strange noises and flickering lights erupt from the house at all hours and neighborly relations are on edge. And when a local boy goes missing near the house, it’s up to Lucy Stone to unravel the mystery of the eccentric couple and their increasingly frightful behavior.

DEATH BY HAUNTED HOUSE by LEE HOLLIS
For the past two years, the house next door to Hayley Powell has sat abandoned after the owner died under mysterious circumstances. The Salinger family has recently taken possession of the property, but the realtor behind the deal has vanished—after a very public and angry argument with Damien Salinger. If Bar Harbor’s newest neighbors are murderers, Hayley will haunt them until they confess.

HALLOWED OUT by BARBARA ROSS
With its history of hauntings and ghost sightings, Busman’s Harbor is the perfect setting for Halloween festivities. But when a reenactment of a Prohibition-era gangster’s murder ends with a literal bang and a dead actor from New Jersey, Julia Snowden must identify a killer before she ends up sleeping with the fishes.

 

THE MOVING HOUSE BY DUNCAN RALSTON

The chilling prequel to GHOSTLAND.

Garrote House has seen its share of blood. Since Christopher’s ancestor Oliver Hedgewood built the house in the 1800s, many spirits have taken up residence in “the Moving House,” including horror author Rex Garrote, who’d burned to death in his private library. Christopher Hedgewood and Sara Jane Amblin, inventor of the Recurrence Field, return to Garrote House one final time before it’s relocated to Ghostland.

They’ve both witnessed its ghosts many times. But neither of them have come at night, when the Moving House’s most dangerous hauntings come alive.

If you’re looking for a Halloween-themed novella to read, I highly recommend my WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A GRAVEYARD. Even if you haven’t read the Resale Boutique Mystery series, you can read this story as a standalone.

 

 

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A GRAVEYARD BY DEBRA SENNEFELDER

After trading her Manhattan digs for her upstate hometown, fashionista Kelly Quinn has big plans for her grandmother’s consignment shop. But this All Hallow’s Eve someone is already dressed to kill . . .

A socialite’s missing dog has made front page news in Lucky Cove—complete with a hefty reward. But between renovating the consignment shop, planning her costume for a 1970s themed Halloween party, and scouting a location for a fashion shoot, Kelly doesn’t have time to search. Yet a visit to the local colonial-era cemetery—ideal for the moody atmosphere she’s after—soon turns up the precious pooch. Kelly’s looking forward to collecting the check—until she makes a gruesome discovery in an abandoned farmhouse: The dog’s owner, stabbed through the heart.

Kelly can’t help wondering why Constance Lane was traipsing around the farmhouse in stilettos. But as Kelly gets decked out in a vintage disco caftan, that isn’t the only fashion misstatement spooking her. Hidden in the dead woman’s past is a secret that could be the motive for the murder. And as the Halloween party gets started, even a menacing clown and a threatening bearded lady can’t keep Kelly from trick or treating for the truth—even if it means her last dance . . .

What are you reading this month? Did you participate in Summerween last month? If so, what did you read? I’d love to know.

Baking, Recipes, Writer In The Kitchen

Writer In The Kitchen: Blueberry Muffins

Tasty blueberry muffins on old baking tray sitting on rustic wooden table, text space

We’re a few weeks into summer and let’s just say I’m looking forward to fall. It’s my favorite season because it’s filled with all the things I love – pumpkins, sweaters, mums and cozy nights. While summer is filled with things I really could do without – humidity, humidity hair, poison ivy and sunburn. I know complaining won’t get me anywhere because it is what it is and that’s summer. So rather than complain, I’m creating special moments to get me through the hot, humid months. This past weekend, I baked. There’s something so special about starting a Sunday with a basket of freshly baked blueberry muffins out on the patio. These muffins burst have a buttery flavor that mingles with the tartness of the blueberries and were the perfect way to start my day. I hope they do the same for you!

 

 

 

Notes from Deb

Notes from Deb 6/9/22

Female in beautiful dress holding picnic basket with food and bouquet of lilacs outdoors.

Happy Friday! It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I turned in HOW THE MURDER CRUMBLES to my editor. It felt so good to send out that manuscript. Yes, I did a happy dance. And then, boom! Proof pages for my December release, SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS, landed in my inbox. Out of all the parts of the book writing process, proof pages are my least favorite to do. But, I’m halfway done so the pain won’t be lasting for long. Yay!

Last week, I was down in New York City visiting with my parents for four days and I got home Sunday night, very late, which meant I had a slow start Monday morning.

But I did make a dent in my long to-do list. I even got outside to do some weeding. At least one garden bed looks decent now. Actually, I enjoyed tidying up the bed. I gave our dwarf Japanese Maple a trim, added a base from a water fountain that’s seen better days to the bed tucked behind the Japanese Maple and the Holly bush. There’s a small stone bowl that I purchased during a garden tour in Newport RI years ago that needed a home so I set it on top of that base for a little visual interest.

There were also errands done and a quick trip to TJ Maxx. I always love squeezing in a trip there. You never know what you’ll find! I had a return and of course, I browsed and picked up a new vanity mirror. Today I’m going to have a Zoom call with my critique partner and I’m so looking forward to catching up with her. I’m even more excited to hear about her progress on her current WIP. So far, the pages I’ve read are awesome! I definitely want more.

In the middle of the week, I listened to a podcast and I loved it. I found a new Instagram account to follow. I love when that happens. The episode was How The Farmhouse Style Is Changing and featured blogger Liz Quick. She and host, Lisa, discuss how the very white farmhouse style is changing and becoming more old world. I loved it.

Since it’s the end of the week, I’m starting to think about planning out next week. On the list of things to do, will be creating content for an upcoming Facebook event I’m participating in. I’m so excited about this book hop. The Spring Into Summer multi-author book hop is happening on June 21st. Visit the event page, let us know you’re going to attend and then on June 21st, visit each participating author’s Facebook page for lots of fun and prizes. There’s a grand prize for one lucky person and it’s the ‘first in series’ book from each author! That’s a lot of books. The book I’m including in the grand prize is a copy of The UNINVITED CORPSE.

 

Thanks for stopping by to visit. My weekend will consist of some house chores and weeding. Yeah, it’s going to be a wild weekend here. I’m going to try and pace myself. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re up to this weekend.

Debra

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Writer-to-Writer, Writing

Five Ways to Have A More Sane Relationship With Social Media

Woman's hands typing on a laptop

Writers spend a lot of time on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and the next new thing that just came out between me writing this post and publishing it (can somebody say Clubhouse). Social media has a lot going for it and no doubt you’ve been encouraged to have a presence on at least two platforms. You’ve found that you’ve been able to connect with readers, influencers, and other authors. Hopefully, this networking is building relationships and spreading the word about your books. But social media is constant. It’s open 24/7, even on holidays. It can be all consuming if left unchecked.

You know your most important job is to be a writer not a social media manager and yet it feels like you can’t get off your device, tapping one social media app and then the next. And then you finally take a look at the time and realize that a good chunk of the day has disappeared with little work to show for it. What happened?

Mindless scrolling, doom scrolling. Constantly updating your account to see how many new likes you’ve received or comments you immediately need to reply to. You’re looking for good news from author friends –  who sold a new series, who hit a new list, whose book is out on NetGalley. That’s where you block of what should have been writing time went. Now you’re stuck having to make up that writing time somewhere else in your busy schedule. Which puts you on the proverbial hamster wheel and lamenting there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

If it were the fact that you were just wasting time, that wouldn’t be the worst thing. What’s happening when we’re on social media too much and seeing everyone’s fantastic news and new ranking on Amazon, creates an overwhelming feeling of FOMO. And given enough time in this state, the FOMO creeps into our lives and our writing. It can be detrimental to your creativity and production.

But, social media is a part of an author’s job so what can you do? Here are five tips on how to have a more sand relationship with social media. Creating these rules for your social media consumption and usage will help the relationship.

 

Set time limits

How much time do you really need to be on Instagram or scrolling through your Facebook feed?

Do you use scheduling tools for your social media posts? If not, consider trying one of them. Benefit: you won’t be distracted and you’ll get your posting done quicker.

After you’ve set the times you’ll check-in to reply to comments, cheer on a fellow author or like your cousin’s fabulous DIY project, you’ll need to assign how much time you’ll be on each platform.

 

Check comparisonitis before tapping the app

Here’s where FOMO ratchets up. It’s natural and happens to every writer whether they admit it or not. You see another author receiving an accolade, an ad placement from her publisher, hitting a big list or getting oodles (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of comments on her sparse, one-sentence mid-week update while you haven’t hit a list, there’s no ads for your book and your posts go largely unseen because of algorithms. Envy and FOMO happens. Just keep in mind, social media doesn’t always show the entire picture. And while you feel like you’re missing out on something, the author you’re feeling a twinge of jealousy about probably feels the same way about you at times. Before you tap the app, remember that. (Ooh, that’s kinda catchy.)

 

Turn off notifications

You really don’t need to be notified every time you get a like, a comment or when you’re tagged. Remember, you’re in charge of your daily schedule not Facebook. See tip number one, set time limits.

 

Set a limit of how many people you follow

You don’t have to follow everyone. I know, it’s an etiquette thing but the truth is it’s okay not to follow a Facebook page or friend or business acquaintance if you don’t want to. There are a lot of reasons not to follow someone and it’s okay if you don’t follow everyone.

 

Take a break

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Can this be said about stepping away from social media? I’m not sure, but I think it’s a good idea to take a break from your online accounts even if it’s just for a couple of days. Or, you can try a whole week or *gasp* a whole month. Social media is a tool you have in your toolbox to promote your books and your author career and you get to decide how to use the tool.

There you have it, five quick ways to help rebalance your relationship with social media.

Do you have some other tips? Please share in the comments below.

Cover Reveal, Resale Boutique Mysteries

Cover Reveal – Sleuthing in Stilettos

The next Resale Boutique Mystery has a cover and it’s so adorable. What do you think?

Kelly Quinn, owner of a high-end consignment shop, is a booster for her Long Island town’s small businesses—but now a store owner’s murder has brought big trouble . . .

Locals in Lucky Cove seem to harbor hostility toward Miranda Farrell, proprietor of a new shoe store. Nevertheless, Kelly invites her along to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. But soon afterward, Miranda’s body is found in her shop, with Kelly’s uncle—who’s had multiple public arguments with her—standing nearby. Could her uncle really have committed murder over a business dispute? Or is Miranda’s death related to her late husband’s long-ago embezzlement case?

Kelly feels compelled to investigate, despite her detective boyfriend’s objections—not to mention her commitment to promoting Small Business Saturday. But her effort to pump up sales may fall flat. After her presentation to the committee is sabotaged, the Chamber gives her the boot—and tongues start wagging. Now she has to do some fancy footwork to find the killer . . .