Wicked Wednesday — A Gift of Laughter

As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul. — A Jewish Proverb

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand. — Mark Twain

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron

There’s nothing like a good laugh. Who has made you laugh when you really needed to?

Barb: It’s sappy, but I have to say my husband Bill Carito. Recently, with Bill’s brother’s help, we put up 84 pieces of art and photographs at our new home. As you might guess, there were some disagreements–about what went where, how high it should be, whether it was straight, etc. But we also laughed all day–and we got the job done. Which is pretty much all you can ask of a partnership, I think.

Edith: On Sunday Hugh and I spent the day with our favorite eleven- and eight-year olds. We played multiple rounds of a card game in the afternoon and laughed our heads off at everything – at how Mr. J has trouble sorting the cards in his hands, at Hugh having the same trouble, at Miss B making too many bluffs and having to take nearly the entire deck, and at me for all kinds of things, too. It was the kind of fun you can only have with children around and I loved it.

CardswithKids

Sherry: I grew up in a house with a lot of laughter. My dad loved to tell jokes and had a quick wit. It shaped my life in many ways. I’m attracted to friends who laugh, enjoy inserting humor into my books, and my lovely husband is good at dishing it out, but taking it too.

Liz: Once again, my good friend Glenn makes an appearance on the Wickeds. He’s the funeral director and also the guy I identified as my odd couple match. I think one of the reasons we’ve been friends for 20+ years is because when we’re together, we mostly laugh the entire time. Over stupid, nonsensical things, or old jokes from when we worked together (yes, 20 years ago). It’s one of the best things about our friendship.

Julie: My sisters make me laugh. We’ll be talking about something fairly serious, and one of us cracks a joke and before long I can’t breath because I’m laughing. The best gift of all.

Readers: Where do you find the gift of laughter?

Cook Like a Mystery Writer

Update: CONGRATULATIONS TO  Robin L. Coxon for winning the cookbook! More than fifty people entered, and the random number generator picked her.

Edith here, getting ready for the Newburyport Literary Festival tomorrow (with Jessie and

MWA_CB_final_300dpi (1)Liz), and Malice soon after!

Mystery Writers of America and Quirk Books recently published a gorgeous hardcover cookbook, edited by Kate M. White. It includes scrumptious recipes from luminary Sisters in Crime like Katherine Hall Page, Louise Penny, Sue Grafton, and Sara Paretsky; authors like Lee Child, Joe Finder, and Harlan Coben; and best-selling writer pals of ours like Hallie Ephron, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Wicked Cozy Accomplice Sheila Connolly, and Leslie Budewitz. Barb and I each have a recipe in the book, too!

CharlaineHarrisDinnerI made Charlaine Harris’s Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip last Saturday and it was delicious. I modified Charlaine’s recipe, adding fresh red and green peppers, and we ate it with warmed fresh corn tortillas instead of tortilla chips. It was a fabulous cozy dinner in front of a movie. So far I’ve also made Barb Ross’s recipIMG_1640e, invented by her husband Bill Carito, a fabulous Lobster-Pesto Risotto that was perfect for our Easter brunch (somehow I failed to get a closeup of the dish, but it was a big hit with our guests).

I’m running a contest to give away a copy of the cookbook. All you have to do is leave a comment over on the contest link on my web site (http://edithmaxwell.com/mwa-cookbook-contest/) before sundown tonight, Friday April 24! Or heck, a comment here will enter you, too!

Readers: Hungry yet? What author do you hope you’ll find in the cookbook? Have you tried any of the recipes yet?

Opening Lines

We are delighted that Bill Carito let us use one of his fabulous photographs that he took in Key West. Bill took this using his iPhone.

Bill OpenLineJessie: It wasn’t waking up in an alley that bothered Frank. It was waking up in a purple alley that gave him the creeps.

Liz: It was the only place I could practice my painting without anyone else bothering me. The only place in the world I could have purple walls without having to hear about it every damn day.

Barb: The purple wave crested through the alleyway, leaving the walls bathed in a violent violet. “Wait!” I called to the kid’s retreating back. “What exactly did I take?”

Julie: She called it the alley of hope, painted after the never-ending winter of 2015, designed to be a happy place all winter long. The dead body took some of the happy out of the place.

Sherry: I raced down the alley, police hot on my tail. The ladder I placed there earlier was essential to my escape plan. I tossed the box of full of cardboard behind me as I skirted the trash cans, knocking the last one over. I hoped I’d remember which rungs were sturdy and didn’t land on one of the ones I’d cut through.

Edith: Thank the Goddess for the ladder. But I was never going to get Jake’s body up that thing. I guess I’d have to leave him to rot right here in the alley. The color he’ll turn,  he’s going to match those walls perfect.

Readers: Add your opening line!

Wicked Wednesday: Dru Ann on Stick at Crime Bake

The fabulous book blogger and cozy mystery reviewer Dru Ann Love won our contest to accompany the Wicked Cozies to Crime Bake on a stick. (You can find Dru’s blog here and on Facebook here.) We’re happy to report that Dru Ann had a wonderful time. In fact, you could say she was the Belle of the Ball.

Here are but some of the photos of Dru-Ann-on-a-Stick at the New England Crime Bake.

Dru Ann arrives at Crime Bake and finds Robin Templeton, Liz Mugavero and Sheila Connolly at the bar.

Dru Ann arrives at Crime Bake and finds Robin Templeton, Liz Mugavero and Sheila Connolly at the bar.

Next Dru Ann spots guest of honor Craig Johnson talking with Julie Hennrikus.

Next Dru Ann spots guest of honor Craig Johnson talking with Julie Hennrikus.

 

Sherry and Jessie are so glad to see Dru Ann!

Sherry and Jessie are so glad to see Dru Ann!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roberta Islieb aka Lucy Burdette is so happy to see Dru Ann!

Roberta Isleib aka Lucy Burdette is so happy to see Dru Ann!

Shari Randall is surprised to see Dru Ann at Crime Bake.

Shari Randall is surprised to see Dru Ann at Crime Bake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru Ann gets her sheriff's badge.

Dru Ann gets her sheriff’s badge.

 

Dru Ann talks with author Vicki Doudera.

Dru Ann talks with author Vicki Doudera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru Ann visits with author James Hayman.

Dru Ann visits with author James Hayman.

Dru Ann stops by to see the mock crime scene room and solves the case.

Dru Ann stops by to see the mock crime scene room and solves the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After seeing so many authors it's time for lunch.

After seeing so many authors it’s time for lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru finds Barbara Ross.

Dru finds Barbara Ross.

Then Dru runs into Barb's husband Bill Carito!

Then Dru runs into Barb’s husband Bill Carito!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a quick cup of coffee Dru decides it's time to get ready for the banquet.

After a quick cup of coffee Dru decides it’s time to get ready for the banquet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru hopes to do some line dancing in her red boots.

Dru hopes to do some line dancing in her red boots.

On the way to the banquet Dru stops to have a drink with private investigator and author John Nardizzi.

On the way to the banquet Dru stops to have a drink with private investigator and author John Nardizzi.

Julie Hennrikus makes sure Dru has a cowboy hat for the banquet.

Julie Hennrikus makes sure Dru has a cowboy hat for the banquet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru peaks over Craig Johnson's shoulder to watch the line dancing.

Flat Dru Ann and Flat Craig are looking for Flat Stanley to go have a drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dru shows off her bareback riding skills.

Dru shows off her bareback riding skills.

Time for the banquet.

Time for the banquet.

 

 

 

It's time to partee!

It’s time to partee!

Dru stops by to say hi to Hank Phillipi Ryan

Dru stops by to say hi to Hank Phillippi Ryan

DruEdithShariKim

Sheriff Edith, Dru Ann, Shari Randall, and Kim Gray!

DruHandcuffs

Sheriff Edith cuffs Dru. What was the crime?

DruShariSherryKIM

Dru and the girls party down.

WickedsBanquet

All the Wickeds, regular guests, and fan Dru Ann!

 

After a long day Dru is happy to go to bed.

After an action packed weekend Dru is happy to go to bed.

Readers: Did any of you spot Dru Ann at Crime Bake? Who’s up for going on a stick to Malice Domestic?

Gratitude

by Barbara Ross
on the seacoast, in Maine

Recently, Jessie wrote a one-word titled post, “Kindness.” That got me thinking about maybe doing a series of posts with one-word titles. The one I have to pick right now is “Gratitude.”

Clammed UpIf you had told me, three years ago, or even two, that a book by me would be sitting right there on the shelf at Barnes & Noble between Kathy Reichs and Hank Phillippi Ryan, I would have told you, you were crazy.

But it happened. And it continues to happen. Clammed Up has been well-reviewed and on the B&N in-store Mass Market paperback bestseller list for three weeks now. The audio and large print rights have been sold.

Which is even more unbelievable.

So I want to take a moment to be grateful. Because I know it takes a special combination of luck and timing for all this to have happened for me.

Luck, timing and support.

Writing is a solitary pursuit, but it really takes a village to publish a book.

So thank you, thank you, thank you.

To my fabulous writer’s group of seventeen years–Mark Ammons, Kathy Fast, Cheryl Marceau and Leslie Wheeler. They kept me writing during all the years of kids and jobs, when it would have been so easy to give up. And they have taught me more than anybody.

To Sisters in Crime New England and the New England Crime Bake. Especially to 2011 SinCNE President Sheila Connolly who fielded an inquiry from agent John Talbot, vetted it and sent it to the group.

To the Maine Crime Writers, who took a chance on me when I had only one book published and was only a summer resident of Maine. They gave me the desire not only to write a book about Maine, but to get it right.

To my agent, John Talbot who had a vision and sold the series, my editor John Scognamiglio and the entire team at Kensington. Consummate professionals.

To the Grub Street Launch Lab pilot class. What an amazing, inspiring, crazy smart, crazy talented group. If you are a writer in Boston and you haven’t used the resource that is Grub Street, do it now. If you’re not in Boston, Grub is now offering online classes, and the Launch Lab is scheduled so out-of-towners can attend.

The Wicked Cozys

The Wicked Cozies

To the teachers at Seascape, Roberta Isleib (Lucy Burdette), Hallie Ephron and S.W. Hubbard and everyone in the class of ’09.

To the Wicked Cozies. My sisters in arms. I can’t tell you what its meant to have gone through this together.

barbandviolaAnd finally to my family. My kids, my new grandchild. Especially my brother Rip Ross without whom I never would have finished the second book in the series this summer.

And most especially my husband, Bill Carito.

The dedication to Clammed Up reads:

This book is dedicated to Bill Carito, my best friend, the love of my life, who has supported me in everything I’ve ever done. Honey, I’m sorry I got mad at you for breathing while I was trying to write.

I think that says it all.