Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Mary Martinez

Good morning, everyone. Today is the first of my posts for  the 2011 Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I’m pleased to introduce Mary Martinez, my first guest who will talk about her latest book, Classic Murder: Mr. Romance, available on both Kindle and in book form. Mary is a fascinating woman who loves to travel with her husband when she’s not writing. Their favorite places to visit are the Caribbean for relaxation and Italy for the wine.

Mary Martinez

Mary: Thank you, Jackie, for having me as your blog guest.

Jackie: The pleasure is mine, Mary. My first question is: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Mary: It would be easier to tell you what I don’t do when I’m not writing. Sleep, dishes, etc. I have a full time job. I love to experiment with recipes so I spend a lot of time cooking. I have seven grandkids whom I spend a lot of time with, and there’s a lot more to the list. Makes me wonder, when I do write?

Jackie: What a busy lady you are! We readers are lucky you sandwich in writing time.
Next Question: What type of research did you do before writing your latest book?

Mary: I have a lot of fun with research, in fact sometimes I get caught up in it and have to remind myself to get back to work. For Classic Murder: Mr. Romance I researched a lot by watching classic movies. And since I love old movies, I had a blast.

When I researched Watching Jenny I listened to a lot of music by some of my favorite artists. Researched their tours, visiting concert stages, etc. And I’m a concert ho I pretty much want to do them all, so I loved that research.

Jackie: Watching old movies sounds like a great way to do reasearch! Maybe I'll try that.
Question: What gives you the most pleasure in life?

Mary: Easy question, first and foremost, that would be my family. Every week we have a get together called Papa and Nana night. The grandkids play and we have a big dinner and visit. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything.

My husband and I love to travel. And that helps a lot with research also. I keep maps of everywhere I go. And since I’m a huge fan of taking pictures I lot of scenes I can look through if I pick a town I’ve visited.

Jackie: What an interesting look into the life of a writer. Thanks for sharing.
Question: Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?

Mary: My husband and family. After the kids were grown he encouraged me to quit my day job to write full time. However, last fall he was laid off, so I’ve returned to the work force. However, he still encourages me to go for my dream.

Jackie: Lucky you to be married to such a wonderful man.
Question: Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the final result?

Mary: I am published with BookStrand, and though they have a cover artist, I wanted my web designer, Rae Monet, to do my latest cover. I had to have her design Classic Murder: Mr. Romance to their specification and then they had the final say. But I love it. I’ve had more compliments on this cover than any other.

Jackie: Do you have a personal quirk that you have given to one of your characters?

Mary: My characters all have quirks and part of my personality. They are me, either because they are something I want to be, or they have a trait I have. Adam in Classic Murder: Mr. Romance he loves to travel. And he’s visited some of the same places.

Jackie: Ah ha! So when we read your books, we'll learn secrets about you. Very cool.
Question: If you could travel anywhere in the world to research a book, and if someone else pays expenses, where would you pick?

Mary: Oh, so may places and only one choice. Let me see… I’d say Australia. I have wanted to visit there for as long as I remember. I can’t afford to visit, but if someone would flip the bill? I’d be there. I’d visit the underground towns and opal mines. I go on walk-about—Yes I’m a Crocodile Dundee fan. I would just want to spend weeks there and I’d fill up a laptop full of information.

Jackie: What’s your favorite food? Do you have a special recipe for this menu item?

Mary: Food. Yup if it’s edible it’s my favorite. I really like Cajun though, so I’ll share a Gumbo recipe with your.

Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo 8 / 1 cup servings
1 lb Shrimp (tail off)
3 links Sausage (Andouille or Cajun)
1 Medium onion chopped
1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper Chopped
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper Chopped
2 clove garlic
1 12 oz. pkg of Okra (fresh if you can find it)
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 stalk celery sliced
3 medium tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup flour
4 oz butter light
4 cups water
4 tsp tomato bouillon
2 Tablespoons Cajun Spice Mix (See below)
In large pot, melt butter and blend in flour simmer until darkened. Add drained and thawed okra. Gradually add all the vegetables. Add browned sliced sausage. While mixture is simmering in another saucepan bring water to boil, then add in bouillon. Mix and pour over vegetables mix in large pot. Add spices and bring to a boil turn down to simmer for about 60 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer another 30-40 minutes.
1 cup 327 calories, Total Fat 21g, Saturated Fat 8g, Cholesterol 129mg, Sodium 530mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Dietary fiber 2g, Sugars 4g, Protein 21g, Vitamin A 30%, Vitamin C 55%, Calcium 8% and Iron 12%

Cajun Spice Mix I found this on (I added a bit more Cayenne to mine)
Mix the following pour into a jar with a tight lid and store in dry place. 1 TBSP servings (13 calories)
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Chili Powder
1/4 cup Paprika
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp basil

Jackie: Yum! Looks delicious. I know my readers will love trying this new recipe.
Question: Where can we find out more about you?

Mary: Please visit me on the following places:

Jackie: Thanks Mary, for sharing your life, books, and this special recipe with us. And to all my readers, if you have any questions or comments for Mary, please share.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Birthing a Book Is Hard Work!

The Mystery We Write Blog Tour is in progress and will run through August 12!

Thirteen mystery authors, including me, are in our big blog tour! (13? Sounds scary, huh?) :-)

My first posting on Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness will start on Thursday with a Mary Martinez interview.

My article, BIRTHING A BOOK IS HARD WORK, is featured on Sharon Ervin's blog this week. Check out: to learn about my struggles in writing a mystery series, plus some miscellaneous nonsense about me.

left to right-Paula Watkins, Jackie King, Peggy Fielding, Sharon Ervin
Sharon Ervin, who usually writes mystery, was one of the co-authorsi n the anthology CHIK~LIT FOR FOXY HENS.

See you later,



Mystery We Write Blog Tour Starts Now!

Twelve mystery writers and moi begin our BLOG SWAP tour today. My blog will appear this Thursday morning and feature Mary Martinez, mystery writer extraordinaire. I’m interviewing Mary, so you will learn all about this interesting woman.
My article BIRTHING A BOOK IS HARD WORK, is on Sharon Ervin’s Blog today! Check it out and learn of my struggles in producing a mystery series (plus other miscellaneous nonsense about me.) Sharon Ervin, who mostly writes mysteries, contributed to our first Foxy Hen book, CHIK~LIT FOR FOXY HENS—stories for women of a certain age.
For a blast to the past, below is a picture of Peggy Fielding (L) and Sharon Ervin (R) at a signing in 2006.

Stay tuned for this most interesting tour of Mystery Writers.



Saturday, May 14, 2011


My Face Was Redder than My Hair
Have you ever done something so out of character, that you shocked the living daylights out of yourself? Well, let me assure you that such an experience is a bit like eating your own gizzard without catsup. Before I get into the back story, let me say that it’s my nature to be on time. Always. In fact, I’m usually early, just be sure. (I’m sort of a belt and suspenders kind of gal.) If someone had told me that I’d be late for a speaking engagement, I’d have laughed at the absurdity. Couldn’t happen.
Back Story:
I spent the last week of April looking forward to speaking at OWFI  (Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) on May 7. I had been invited to join Pat Browning, another published author, to answer questions about selling books on Kindle. Each of us has a book on Amazon Kindle’s cozy mystery bestseller lists. (There are several such lists.) I was most eager to share this wonderful and surprising new way to sell books and earn money by writing. The prospect of making enough money with my book royalties was heady stuff to me, and I wanted all my friends to do the same. Dan Case, my publisher, was to chair the panel.
Talk about preparing! I researched, I made notes, and I spent money on handout copies! I intended to be sooooo ready. Our panel was scheduled in the last time slot on Saturday afternoon. For energy, I ate a healthy lunch, veggies and chicken salad, then excused myself to go to my suite and review my notes.
The Plot Thickens
As soon as I entered the darkened bedroom, I realized my energy was lagging and decided to lie down for a few minutes. No need to worry about falling asleep; sleep always eludes me, and most nights I lie awake for hours counting sheep. To be comfy, I slipped off my linen slacks, put on pajama bottoms, and took the “flipper” out of my mouth. (A flipper is the gizmo the dentist gives to use for pretend teeth. This is to give my jaw time heal, in order to permanently implant teeth. Mine fits across the front bottom of my mouth, so no one knows that I’m toothless at present.) Then I stretched out on the bed.
(Imagine a space-mark here.)
The Crisis
Suddenly the phone rang and Linda Apple, Conference Chair, was on the line. (Now please understand, Linda is one of those perfect women, who does everything right and never ever stubs her toe. We’d all hate her if she wasn’t so nice. Not only is she perfect and pretty, she also has the energy of a teenager.)
“The meeting has started,” Linda said.
Meeting? What meeting? I blinked hard to clear sleep from my brain, then morphed into a surreal panic. Oh crap! THE meeting. The event I’d been looking forward to for days.
“I’m coming,” I said, jumping to my feet.
I flew around the room putting on shoes, glancing into the mirror to make sure my hair wasn’t standing straight up, grabbed my handouts and purse and raced down to the meeting. I made my apologies and answered Dan’s questions. I think. The truth is; I can’t remember one thing that I said. I hope to goodness that I said a few things about how to sell books on Kindle.
What I do remember is slipping my tongue into a blank spot where my front bottom teeth are supposed to be. I’d forgotten that wretched flipper! Here I was—in front of about 50 very talented writers, some of them quite famous—a toothless hag! Talk about your worst nightmare. (I’m vain when it comes to having front teeth!) I was horrified, but there was nothing I could do, except keep talking…and smiling.
Oh the shame of a toothless smile!
It’s amazing what a person can live through without sinking straight through the floor and dying from embarrassment. My loyal friend and coauthor to our Foxy Hens series, Peggy Fielding, did her best to help me feel better.
“I didn’t even notice your missing teeth,” she lied.
This is our spooky mystery
Darling Peggy. Kind folks (and most writers are kind hearted, I’ve discovered) came up afterwards and said nice things about the panel. (God bless each of them.)
FYI: Pat showed up on time, and with all of her teeth.
I Did Survive
One thing I will say in my own defense. I managed to shimmy out of my pajama bottoms and pull on honest to goodness slacks. Not too bad for a gal who has been known to run to the grocery store in her jammies.
If any of you would like to share your own most embarrassing moment, I’d love to know that I have fellow sufferers.
Jackie King and Peggy Fielding OWFI 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I drove home from OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) on Sunday, and it’s taken me a couple of days to recoup from the rollicking fun and to get caught up on boring, every day stuff.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a ladies maid like the rich women in Victorian England? Mine could unpack, do laundry, and tidy up. During that time I could make the required telephone calls to my grown daughters and reassure them that I hadn’t forgotten the way home. (I’m not sure when I changed from a mother with two girls into a child with two mothers?)
(Just kidding. I have the most wonderful daughters in the world! I’m grateful that they care.)
I always travel with Peggy Fielding, who keeps me laughing all the way. Peggy, writer, teacher, and editor, is Guru for most of Oklahoma’s many writers and also mothers some from bordering states. She and I co-write anthologies called The Foxy Hens Series. Our latest featured bestselling author Charles W. Sasser (everyone calls him, Chuck).This book is titled FOXY HENS MEET A ROMANTIC ADVENTURER. $2.99 on Kindle.

Check in later this week. I’m going to share the most embarrassing moment in my whole life. Not only was I humiliated, but I embarrassed myself in front of about 50 writers, many of them quite famous.
The worst thing was, it was all MY OWN FAULT!