About Jessie Crockett

Jessica Estevao writes the Change of Fortune Mysteries. The first in the series, Whispers Beyond the Veil, will release in September 2016. She loves the beach, mysterious happenings and all things good-naturedly paranormal. While she lives for most of the year in New Hampshire with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children, she delights in spending her summers on the coast of Maine where she keeps an eye out for sea monsters and mermaids. As Jessie Crockett she’s the author of the nationally bestselling Sugar Grove Mysteries and the Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Live Free or Die.

Guest Victoria Thompson and Giveaway!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the leaves have mostly rattled off the trees and the winter birds have returned to the feeders.

Today it is my  very great pleasure to welcome Victoria Thompson to the blog! I met Victoria several years ago at Malice Domestic. She is as charming and personable in life as she is in her writing.

 Victoria Thompson is the author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series. Her new book, City of Lies, is the first in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 7. To celebrate, she’ll give away a signed hardcover copy to one commenter here today (US entries only).

ThompsonVictoria-CityofliesLooking for Inspiration…

I’m very excited that City of Lies will finally be released into the wild! I’d been wanting to write a second historical mystery series for a long time, and I’d been doing a lot of research on the early twentieth century, hoping for inspiration. During that process, I learned a lot about the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I realized that when my own mother was born, women didn’t have the right to vote in America! It was that recent! I also learned that many women endured beatings and imprisonment to earn females the right to vote. I’d never heard about this in history class, and no other women I spoke with had either. I wanted to tell this story, but how could I make it more interesting than a dry history lesson? That’s when I decided to add a less than honest heroine, a dashing hero, and a dastardly villain.

Every woman wears a mask…

Every woman has, at one time or another, hidden who she really is in order to get along or get ahead. Elizabeth Miles has made a career of it, however. As a con artist, her job is cheating rich and greedy men, but when she cheats the wrong man, she ends up running for her life.

Elizabeth finds temporary safety by getting herself arrested with the Suffragists who have been demonstrating outside the White House for months. This gets her away from Thornton for the moment, but she and the other women are sentenced to three months of hard labor at a workhouse were they are starved and abused. Much to her own surprise, Elizabeth bonds with these women and learns to respect them while they are imprisoned, and she emerges a new person.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire…

Elizabeth may feel like a new person, but Oscar Thornton still wants to kill her. How can she escape him and still keep her secrets? Because her new friends would lose all respect for her if they knew who she really was, and the man she has come to love can’t even bring himself to tell a lie. How can she trick them into helping her pull off a con that will save her life without losing everything she has learned to value?

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Elizabeth’s experiences in City of Lies are based on real historical events that happened in November of 1917, exactly 100 years to the month when the book is being published! In 1917, society was changing, and women were fighting to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to have a seat at the table. A hundred years later, women are still fighting for the very same things. Elizabeth lived in exciting times and so do we. I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures, which are not so very different from our own.

 

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Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Victoria Thompson photoSeries, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, was a May 2017 release. City of Lies is the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady series, a November 2017 release from Berkley. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

Launch Day and Giveaway- Murder in an English Village!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where a recent storm has downed trees and ended the foliage season abruptly!

MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGEToday is the launch day for my seventh published novel. Seven. Seven whole novels! As I type this I am hugging myself with delight. How is life such a wonderment?

Not only is it the launch of a novel but it is the debut is a whole new series. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this new imaginary world has brought me! Murder in an English Village simply poured out of me with a flow I had never before experienced. It was magical. It was almost entirely fun.

I am utterly in love with Beryl and Edwina, the dual protagonists of this series. They represent the things I love, the things I am and the things I most long to be. They live in a time and a place I have so often imagined through deep dives into the magic of the Golden Age of Detection and the beguiling works of E.F. Benson and P.G. Wodehouse.

But it is more than that. It isn’t just the era and all its alluring accoutrements like soda siphons and Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts. It is the characters themselves with whom I am totally smitten. They feel so much like two sides of the same coin to me and I have loved tipping and tossing them this way and that. I love the way they play off each other and highlight the strengths or weaknesses of the other. I love how they each have expertise and preference. I love discovering what those things are.

Cards on the table, I really want to be Beryl when I grow up. Well, minus the string of ex-husbands. After all, I told my husband, before we married, that the only man I would ever consider leaving him for was Hercule Poirot. Beryl has no such compunctions which, not surprisingly, baffles spinster Edwina. I admire Edwina’s deep connection to place and understand her love of her gardens and her feeling of responsiblilty for the small creatures that live there like wild birds and families of rabbits.

I adore writing about gnarled jobbing gardener Simpkins and gossipy postmistress Prudence Rathbone. I wish I owned Beryl’s motorcar or Edwina’s hat collection. I would love to shop the High Street of imaginary Walmsley Parva with my wicker basket draped over my arm and Crumpet the dog capering along at my side snuffling at the hedgerows and generally making merry. I wish I could stop right this minute for a cuppa and a scone at Minnie Mumford’s Silver Spoon Tearoom.

And although it is all in my mind, I still cannot quite believe I get to spend my time with such delightful imaginary friends. I am even more astonished that others are able to visit with them too through the wizardry of books. I can only hope you enjoy it all as much as I do!

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Murder in an English Village! I’d love to hear about your favorite characters from books, your favorite historical era or your favorite part of your own job. 

 

Wicked Wednesday- Halloween Parties

Jessie: In NH, beetling away on cozy knitting projects.

I have been thinking about Halloween a lot more than usual lately since the first ofhalloween-1805457_1920 my Beryl and Edwina books releases that day. And book launches make me think about parties. Naturally, I started thinking about Halloween parties. So, Wickeds, tell us about a memorable Halloween Party. One you attended, one you hosted, one that you thought required a costume yet no one else wore one.

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Edith: I LOVE Halloween and costumes. I used to throw a big costume party every year. I sewed a darling flannel tiger costume (complete with tail, of course) for my first-born when he was a toddler. A few years ago a friend invited me to a party that had a high school prom theme. So of course I had to pick up a prom dress at the local thrift store, dust off my black wig and my glasses from eighth grade, dig out the white gloves from the costume box, and head to school! Do you think I should have won the Homecoming Queen’s crown? Two friends came as the teacher-chaperones, except they had switched genders. The whole evening was so much fun.

Liz: I went to college in Salem, Mass., and the entire month of October was one big Halloween party! On any given day, people were wandering around town in costumes, visiting local witch Laurie Cabot’s store and getting tarot readings. Halloween night itself was insane…the entire downtown area was a costume party and non-stop parade. For a Halloween junkie like me, it was like being in heaven!

Sherry: I always loved dressing up. One year at college I found two fifties dresses at a thrift shop and my friend and I went as Laverne and Shirley. The party isn’t that memorable, but when we were walking home someone started throwing eggs at us. We ran screaming down the street in our heels. Fortunately, they had terrible aim and didn’t hit us.

Jessie: We live next door to the local library and for many years I served as a volunteer there. One year I helped out with the Halloween party by making the food. For some reason I decided to create cream puff monsters. I seem to remember making sixty of them each with candy eyes and licorice legs. I couldn’t bring myself to make cream puffs for months afterwards! But the kids had a great time!

Readers: Share your Halloween memory – good or bad!

Wicked Wednesday- Favorite Halloween Candy

Jessie: In NH where the foliage is beautiful it breaks the heart.

pick-and-mix-171342_1920Everywhere I’ve been in the last couple of weeks, from the pharmacy to the gas station, has had bountiful displays of Halloween candy for sale. So far, I have managed to leave it be. But it has got me to wondering which sort of candy do you each favor? Which ones beg to be tossed into your shopping basket?

Liz: Milk Duds and Tootsie Rolls! Omg, I love them both. So I don’t buy them, even for Halloween, because I know I’ll eat them way before the trick or treaters arrive!

Sherry: I was in the store today and passed the candy row. It was tempting, but I managed to resist! Pretty much anything that is chocolate is what I throw in and pass out — Snickers, Kit Kats, M&Ms…I could go on and on and on. I’ve taken to waiting until the last minute so we don’t eat it prior to the big night.

Jessie: I love candy corn. There, I said it. Candy corn. Or the tiny pumpkins made out out the same sugary, toxic madness as candy corn. When I was a child I loved to put pieces of candy corn on my incisors and pretend I was a vampire. Ok, sometimes I still do…

Edith: (Why am I not surprised, Jessie!) I bought the tiny bags of peanut M&Ms last week – and pretty much assume they’ll be gone by Halloween! I also love Baby Ruth bars, and if I come into contact with candy corn I still have to bite off one color at a time. I swear each color tastes different.

Barb: I love candy corn, too, Jessie! I’m so glad you admitted it. My favorite though is mini-Butterfingers. I don’t buy until the last minute and I hate that neither Bill nor I have an office to send the leftovers to, though our street in Somerville, MA was the “trick or treat street” and there were never any leftovers.

Julie: Count me as another candy corn girl! Love it. Also love Butterfingers. My favorite are Reese’s cups. LOVE. Them. Will admit, I hit target after Halloween to get some sale stuff. Also, the Halloween M&M colors are harvest, so good to get a bag or two for Thanksgiving.

Readers, what is your favorite Halloween candy?Save

Newsworthy?

Jessie: In New Hampshire where autumn has well adn truly arrived.

Last week I attended a conference for novelists down in Florida. There is a lot to thinkfullsizeoutput_5c7 about and I left with a head crammed full of possibilities and things to ponder. One of the workshops that I attended was on the subject of newsletters.

I must admit, rather shamefacedly, that I do not currently have a newsletter. I have meant to put one together, told myself I should put one together, added it to my projects list and agonized thoroughly over the lack of one. But somehow, I have never seemed to have managed it. The workshop presenter convinced me it was time to change all that.

Apparently, a newsletter is not all that difficult to produce and according to the presenter readers actually truly love to find them in their email inboxes.  she made the entire thing seem like fun instead of like something overwhelming and tedious. Which brings me to the point of this post. I could use a little help from all of you.

I would love to know which sorts of things you like to hear from writers when you subscribe to a newsletter. I’d love to know how frequently you like to receive such things. I’d like to know if you value notifications about upcoming releases, author appearances, exclusive content available only to newsletter subscribers, or newsy tidbits and behind-the-scenes information about what went into the books that you like to read.

I also would love to grow the numbers of people interested in receiving the inaugural issue of my newsletter. I do have a sign-up link  for one on my website and have added it here should any of you be interested in signing up.

Readers, I’d love to hear the answers to the questions above. Writers, do you send out a newsletter?

Wicked Wednesday

Jessie: In New Hampshire, thinking fondly of the sunny shores of St. Petersburg, Florida I enjoyed visiting at this time last week.

Last week I asked which of the household chores facing you left you procrastinating and groaning with despair. Today I’m wondering if there are any particular tasks that you happen to like doing, especially those that other people would rather avoid? Do you polish the silver during times of stress? Enjoy getting that very last cobweb off the ceiling fan? Do you delight in making a grocery list? Do tell!

ShinyCounters

Edith: I like cleaning the kitchen counters. We have lovely dark greenish granite, and long expanses of it. I wipe it with a damp dishrag and then polish with a clean dishtowel. It’s exclusively my job, because the person I live with does not SEE crumbs (in the same category as dust for him, I guess,) and his superpower is leaving toast crumbs everywhere…. The counter looks so pretty when it’s clean and polished, and the polishing is meditative, too.

Sherry: The closest thing to tasks that makes me happy would be periodically cleaning out my closet. But the everyday tasks? I like making my bed every day, but anything else? Not so much. My sister likes to iron to relax. I wish I’d gotten that gene. The last time I cleaned out my closet I found a shoe with change and a Swedish fish in it. That was very strange!

Barb: I like the events that mark the seasons: putting away summer clothes and getting out the winter ones, spring and fall cleaning, getting out the holiday decorations and putting them away.

Liz: I really like vacuuming and decluttering. I get a lot of weird pleasure sucking up cat fur. And I’ve really become a fan of throwing things out. Of course, these things are procrastinating techniques too…

Jessie: I actually do like to polish the silver. There is something so satisfying about seeing something tarnished gleaming once again. I also like to make my bed up with clean sheets, a fluffed duvet and a stack of pillows.

Julie: Loading the dishwasher, and shining my sink. Even when the rest of the house is chaos, my sink is shiny. Baby steps!

Readers, do you have any household chores that you secretly love to do? Or at least ones that you find surprisingly satisfying?

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Wicked Wednesday

Jessie: In New Hampshire, where the leaves have started to turn.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been keeping my head down in order to complete a book that was due to my editor in October. Every time I have a looming deadline lots of other things in my life take a backseat, most notably, any real standard of housekeeping. As soon as I turn in a manuscript I cast my bleary eyes over my home in despair. So what I’m wondering today Wickeds is which household chore is your very least favorite of all?

Sherry: All of them? Okay, I’ll winnow that down. Probably mopping the floor — the water, the wringing, ugh! I don’t mind sweeping or vacuuming, but I will put mopping off as long as possible.

DustingEdith: Dusting. Especially when a shelf has a lot of knickknacks or pictures on it. You have to pick up each one and dust it and under it. By the time I’m done I’m sneezing so hard I quit, even though there are four more bookshelves to clean. And the person I live with (who is an exemplary vacuumer, by the way) doesn’t even SEE dust.

Barb: Does grocery shopping count? That is my very least favorite, bar none. Basically, I love project-y type tasks–spring cleaning, fall cleaning, decorating for holidays. I hate the repetitive stuff-where you do it and then you just do it again.

Liz: Love my furries, but litter box scooping…ugh. I wish I could teach them to do it themselves!

Jessie: I hate scrubbing the bathtub door track. I don’t mind cleaning the tub itself or even the shower surround but the track of the door never seems to get clean no matter what I do to it.

Julie: Litter box scooping is not my favorite, but I do love my cats, so I do it. I’m with Barb on the repetition. I am so, so, sick of dusting and vacuuming. But I persist.

Readers: Your least favorite chore?