Wicked Wednesday-Treasures

heirloom-454464_1920Jessie- In Maine, thinking about the past and about family

I recently popped into a local vintage shop and got to chatting with the owner who mentioned many of the delightful items on offer came to him when families offered the contents of a deceased relative’s home. As I looked around I couldn’t help but think of family heirlooms and the things I have inherited from loved ones. So, Wickeds, do you have any special possessions you have received from your own families? 

Liz: I have my grandfather’s pocket watch. I always remember him having one in his shirt pocket when I was little, and it was a true gift to be able to have this keepsake of his.

IMG_4250

I also have his wedding ring that my mother had created into a heart shape that I wear on a chain.

Edith: I have my grandmother Dorothy Henderson Maxwell’s travel diary from when she drove across country in 1917, and her future husband, my grandfather Allan B. Maxwell’s diaries from when he was fourteen and fifteen. These are immense treasures for their detail of daily life on these adventures. And I just discovered I also have the diary of Allison Maxwell, Allan’s father, from 1868!

Poppa and Allison's diaries

Jessie: I have a tiny little brass fire extinguisher that my great-grandfather kept on his lobster boat. When my husband and I bought our place in Maine my mother gave it to me to put on display. I love it!

IMG_0158

Barb: I have so much stuff from family, I had a hard time deciding what to show you all. I finally settled on the couch below. I picked it because it has been, in its quiet way, so much a part of our lives. It belonged to my father’s mother’s parents. They were interior decorators, so I always figured it was an order someone forgot to pick up. I have photos of me standing in front of it in New Rochelle, New York in the 1950s. I remember it well from my grandparents apartment on East 36th Street in New York City in the 60s. During the 70s, on my wedding day, I posed in front of it at my parents’ house in Kingston, Pennsylvania. During the 80s through the 2000s, it was at my parents’ house in Dallas, Pennsylvania. My son and my nephew were assigned to sit on it during Christmas morning present opening, so we have tons of photos. It’s really uncomfortable, which is why no one ever sits on it unless we have a full house. The last person who reupholstered it for my mother said it was meant to go in a front hallway where it would only be sat on briefly to put on or take off galoshes. I’m so happy my house in Portland, Maine has an out-of-the-way nook where it can live and where it will only be sat on during the largest of parties. The needlepoint pillows on it, (l-r) were made by my great-grandmother, my mother, and my grandmother respectively.

Julie: I have a few treasures. One is the clock that was on the hanging shelves in my grandmother’s living room. Even more treasured are the recipes and knitting patterns I inherited. She wrote notes in margins, and every time I see that handwriting I smile. Another treasure is a hutch my father made for me. It is Shaker style, and built to be a corner hutch. A family heirloom that will be passed on for sure.

Sherry: Like Barb, I have a plethora of treasures to choose from. Some I include in the Sarah Winston books like the rocking chair that was my great grandfathers and her love of vintage postcards comes from the ones I have from them. One of the things I love is a gyroscope I found in their basement. It’s in the original box with the original string and instructions. You can’t see the price in the photos but it say it was fifty cents on the bottom of the instructions. I’m not sure how old it is. But maybe Sarah should find one at a garage sale!

Readers, how about you? Do you have any special family treasures?

Wicked Wednesday- Say Something Nice

Jessie: Enjoying the ocean breezes on the coast of Maine

newspaper-943004_1280I prefer to look on the bright side just as often as possible but I have to admit there are times when that is a bit more challenging than usual. Lately, with the headlines being  pretty grim on all sides, it has been sort of tough to remain cheerful. So, I thought it might be nice to share some good news from your life, your community or even from around the web. Ladies, what’s right in your world?

Edith: I have a happy, healthy, funny nine-month-old great-goddaughter who is much loved by her parents and grandmas – and by me. I spent time with her last week and was lifted up by this sunny young nugget of life. (Her parents don’t allow her picture on social media or the web or I’d share her with you.) And I get to see her this afternoon, too!

Sherry: I am in Davenport, Iowa for a high school class reunion. My dear friend Carol and I both flew in early so we could spend some time together. Friday night is the casual night of the reunion. I have to miss Saturday night, but it’s for a good reason too. I’ll be attending the Kensington CozyCon in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday along with a bunch of other wonderful authors. Click here for more information!

Liz: Shaggy and I have been enjoying the beautiful weather, checking out new places in our neighborhood and making sure we take advantage of the summer months as much as possible. We’re really trying to relax more and soak up our favorite season.

Barb: It’s so amazing that Jessie posted this question this Wednesday of all Wednesdays, when twelve young Thai soccer players and their coach have been successfully rescued from a flooded cave system. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a story. First the boys were lost, then they were found, then the difficulty of rescuing them was revealed. Their successful extraction was an international effort involving science and technology, but most of all bravery. A retired Thai Navy SEAL was lost in the rescue effort. As I write this, there are still three divers and a doctor in the cave. The boys and their coach have a long road ahead, mentally and physically, but the results so far have been my good news of the summer.

Readers, how about you? Do you have any good news to share? 

 

Wicked Wednesday- Fireworks

Jessie: In the nation’s capital for the holiday!

new-years-eve-1953253_1920Happy Independence Day to all our readers! Not only is it a day to remember the founders of our nation, it is also a day to attend parades, host barbecues and to wear red white and blue. Many Americans end the day  stretched out on a blanket watching a dazzling display of fireworks.

What I wondered was whether or not all of you love fireworks or if you prefer to give them a miss?

Edith: I do love the wonder and awe of fireworks, even though at root they celebrate wartime. In my town they are held across from a big hill that is town land, a former farm. Everybody heads up there, many on foot, and bring picnics. Afterward the road back into town is closed to cars and we all walk home. It feel wonderfully old-fashioned, which is why I had to stage a murder during the 1888 fireworks in Called to Justice, Quaker Midwife Mystery #2 – which is on sale right now!

Barb: I love fireworks, too. Because of technological advances, they’re one of the few things that are just as magnificent now as I remember them as a kid. The fireworks in Boothbay Harbor take place over the water in direct line of sight from our front porch, so we don’t even have to leave home to view them. I included fireworks over the harbor in Boiled Over, the second Maine Clambake Mystery.

Sherry: I love fireworks, but hate the crowds and the traffic. So I guess I like them if they are easily accessible. But since our sweet Lily hates them this isn’t the best week for us.

Julie: I love fireworks, but will confess that the noise gives me more pause than it used to. That said, I can see the Boston fireworks from my living room window, and enjoy having my family over so we can have a picnic indoors and enjoy the show. I’ve also seen the fireworks at Old Orchard Beach, and that was wonderful.

Jessie: I adore fireworks! I love the colors and the surprise of what sort of formation will light up next. I love the sparkle and the finale. We never went to them when I was a child and I always wished that we had. Now, as an adult, our house in Old Orchard Beach is within easy walking distance of the beach where they are set off every Thursday night. If it doesn’t rain I go every week. It has become a tradition I have loved sharing with my own kids!

Liz: I like them if I choose to go to a fireworks display. I confess, I don’t like it much when people set off random fireworks in neighborhoods, which seems to happen more often than not over the years! Shaggy and the cats don’t love the noise, either, so I always feel bad for them. But not to sound like a party pooper – I think when done right in a proper show, they are amazing.

Readers, do you love to attend the fireworks? If so, where are your favorites? If not, do you have another way you like to celebrate Independence Day?

Wicked Wednesday: Celebrating Murder at the Mansion

Happy Wednesday readers! Liz here, and today we’re focused on celebrating Sheila Connolly’s newest, Murder at the Mansion, A Victorian Village Mystery. This is Sheila’s brand new series, and the book arrived yesterday. Here’s a sneak peek:

cover - birds fixed - Murder at the Mansion 12-11-17

From the cover:

Katherine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheboro, Maryland. Fifteen years later she’s got a degree in hospitality management and a great job at a high-end boutique hotel in Baltimore. Until, that is, the hotel is acquired by a chain, and she’s laid off. When Kate’s high school best friend calls with a mysterious invitation to come talk with the town leaders of Asheboro, she agrees to make the trip, curious about where this new opportunity might lead.

Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they’ve decided that Kate’s skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker―Kate’s high school nemesis.

But a few days later, while touring the mansion, Kate stumbles over a body―and it’s none other than Cordelia. Kate finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the old house, which itself is full of long-hidden mysteries. Kate must clear her name and save her town―before she ends up in hot water.

Congratulations Sheila! Can’t wait to check out this new series! I know the rest of the Wickeds are psyched to read this too! Wickeds, would you move back to your hometown? What job would you want there if the town asked you to do something for them?

Edith: Yay, Sheila! I love seeing you start a new series, even with all your past and current successes under your virtual belt. Me, I would never move back to my hometown south of Pasadena, California. Sure, it’s lovely when the air is clean and you don’t have to venture forth onto the superslabs. But most of the time the air is not clean (Rose Parade day notwithstanding – although those are MY mountains that you see in the background) and there are way, way too many people who live in the sprawling LA megalopolis for my adopted New England tastes. Now, if someone offered me the job of paid busybody in my grad student town of Bloomington, Indiana? I might accept!

Jessie: Sheila, I wish you every good thing with the new series! My family moved around when I was a child and I don’t feel as though I have a hometown in the way most people mean. I can say that none of the places I lived as a child are places I would return to on purpose. I love my adult life and the places I spend time in now far too much to go back!

Barb: I’m in the same boat as Jessie. I don’t have a place I think of as my hometown. We moved from the northern New Jersey suburbs to the Philadelphia suburbs when I was in elementary school, then in the middle of seventh grade to northeastern Pennsylvania. I resented the move terribly and complained the whole time (which must have been delightful for my parents). I finally escaped early as an exchange student my senior year. So no, not going back there, even though my parents lived out their lives there and my brother and his wife live there still.

Downtown Davenport

Sherry: I love my hometown of Davenport, Iowa. There is so much to do there — an amazing art museum, library system, science museum, symphony, tons of parks, plays, a minor league baseball team that plays in a stadium right on the Mississippi, and so much more. BUT, the weather. I think that is the only thing that holds me back. It’s so hot in the summer and so cold in the winter. Way colder than it was when we lived in Massachusetts. So it’s unlikely, but not impossible that I would move back.

Readers, what about you? Would you move back to your hometown? What job would you want there if the town asked you to do something for them?

 

Wicked Wednesday – Favorite First Lines

As writers, we know how important the first line of a book is. It sets the tone for the whole book and pulls you in (or doesn’t). Some are totally unforgettable. Wickeds, I’m wondering, what’s your favorite first line from one of your books?

WickedFirst Lines

Liz: I still get a kick out of the first line from Purring Around the Christmas Tree
“The whole night could’ve been straight from a 
Norman Rockwell painting, if only Santa hadn’t dropped dead in his sleigh as he rode up to light the Frog Ledge Christmas tree.” 

Edith: I love that one, Liz! Here’s mine from Called to Justice: “The day had seemed an unlikely one to include death.” It goes on to show a sunny festive Independence Day parade in 1888. But I think my most favorite is from my Agatha-nominated short story, Just Desserts for Johnny: “She hadn’t planned on killing Johnny Sorbetto that winter. He had promised her so much.”

Julie: My favorite first line from a published book is from Clock and Dagger, which I wrote as Julianne Holmes. “I was running late. Again.” I love that Ruth Clagan, my protagonist in that series, is a clock maker who is always late. That idea came from my editor, and is genius.

Jessie: My favorite first line from any of my books thus far has got to be my very first from Live Free or Die written as Jessie Crockett. “Beulah Price’s body looked like a hotdog that been left on the grill too long.” It is grim but the protagonist’s voice tickles me.

Barb: My favorite first line in one of my novels is from Fogged Inn. “Jule-YA! There’s a dead guy in the walk-in.” From a short story is it “In the Rip,” in Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm. “Phil broke up with me on New Year’s morning as if propelled by the force of some terrible resolution.”

Sherry: This is my favorite from my very first book Tagged for DeathA gun shot sounded. I jerked the phone away from my ear. This time I hung up first.

Readers, what’s the best first line you’ve read or written? Tell us below!

Wicked Wednesday – Books to Movies

Writers often cringe when they hear their favorite book is being made into a movie (Tom Cruise as Reacher, anyone?), but there are the occasional books-turned-movies that surprise us and are actually awesome. And of course, as writers, we all dream of having our books turned into a movie! So Wickeds, tell us which of your books you’d like to see made into a movie.

Delivering the TruthCover

Edith: Because of the popularity of “Call the Midwife” people are always telling me my Quaker Midwife Mysteries should be made into a television series. I agree! But I wouldn’t argue with any of Delivering the Truth, Called to Justice, or Turning the Tide being turned into a movie, of course. And I think they would translate well to the big screen. Just don’t ask me who should play Rose Carroll. I have no idea.

MMF

Liz: I could totally see the fourth book in my Pawsitively Organic series, Murder Most Finicky, becoming a movie. The book was a blast to write, mostly because it starred a lot of unruly chefs of the reality TV ilk, and I believe they would translate well on screen. Also the book was the only one in which Stan ventured out of Frog Ledge. It’s set in scenic Newport, Rhode Island, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Sherry: I have to pick just one? Sadly, since Hallmark already has a garage sale mystery movies, the chance of mine being made into movies is unlikely. However, a girl can dream. And from what I understand the Hallmark series is set in an antique shop instead of someone like Sarah actually running garage sales. So, okay, if I have to pick I would choose my upcoming The Gun Also Rises. I love that the crime is based on the disappearance of Hemingway manuscripts in 1922. There is also this fanatical (fictional) group called The League of Literary Treasure Hunters who create havoc in Ellington. I think all of it would make for a great movie.

Barb: I’m not dreaming of a movie, but I would love a British-style police procedural series made about Police Chief Ruth Murphy, the protagonist in my first published mystery, The Death of an Ambitious Woman. I say this because that’s the kind of show I love to watch.

Julie: A Christmas Peril would be a most excellent television series. Maybe a six episode Netflix series. It has the holiday hook, amateur sleuth, and great cast of characters. The second in the series, which is coming out next April, would be a great second season. Just saying.

Readers, do you have a favorite book-turned-movie? Leave a comment below.

Wicked Wednesday – Favorite Reading Spot

Happy Wednesday friends! Last week, we talked about what we’re reading this summer. This week, we’re going to talk about where we’re reading all those awesome books. On the beach, in a park, your favorite chair…Wickeds, where do you do your best reading?

Barb: My favorite place to read–the front porch of our house in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Edith: I like to sit on my deck and read at the end of the day. I can see part of my garden and enjoy the shade. Here’s a pic I took the day after Memorial Day with the season’s first gin and tonic, two newspapers, and an excellent mystery.

DeckGandT

Liz: My best place is the beach, toes in the sand, water in the distance. I could sit there for days and not move. Except to swim…

Beach copy 2

Sherry: This is my great grandfather’s rocking chair. It’s incredibly comfortable and I love the smooth curve of the wood. If you read my Sarah Winston books you might recognize this as the rocker that sits by the window that overlooks the town common.

Jessie: I love to read in bed tucked up with a fluffy duvet, a flotilla of pillows and rain clattering away on the roof. I have several books on the go at any one time and they are always in danger of toppling off my nightstand! I also keep a slim paperback or an ebook with me at all times to take advantage of those moments spent waiting on one thing or another. Stolen book moments make any spot a great reading spot in my book:)

Julie: I don’t have a favorite place. I do love reading on vacation, and am grateful for Kindles because I go through a lot of books. But I enjoy grabbing time when I can, where I can.

Readers, where is your favorite place to read?