featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

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Friday, April 3, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--ROMANCE AUTHORS MIA LONDON AND SUSAN SHEEHEY TEAM UP FOR A NEW SERIES

Mia London is a huge fan of romance, highly optimistic, and wildly faithful to the HEA (happily ever after). Her goal is to create a fantasy you will enjoy with characters you could love. Today she joins us to talk about her newest project with writing partner Susan Sheehey. Susan writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women's fiction. Water plays a crucial element in all of her novels, and she's a strong advocate for Autism Awareness. Learn more about Mia and her books at her website and Susan and her books at her website

Writing can be a solitary business, so when we get the opportunity to write with a fellow-author, it amps up the fun in our work. For Susan Sheehey and myself, this will be the second time we’ve collaborated on a project.

Our newest series, a romantic suspense duet, is called Cascade Mountain Manhunt. It’s on pre-order now for a special price and goes live May 19th.

But that’s not really what I wanted to share. As some of you know, Susie and I wrote a trilogy together in 2018, the Sweet Escape series, a romantic comedy series we came up with while on a road trip together. We started this fun girls’ vacation storyline in 2017, and then life happened. In October of 2017, Susie lost her dad unexpectedly, and in March of 2018, I broke my leg (really badly) on a ski trip. Our worlds were thrust into scary and uncertain times.

But somehow we managed to keep each other motivated, relying on each other to get through those really hard moments, and we churned out 3 award-winning books.

The world certainly seems to be off its axis lately, and not that we planned it, but here we are again. Writing, laughing, crying, and supporting each other in a way women do.

We hope you enjoy these stories!

Hugs!
Mia and Susie

P.S. Keep an eye out on our newsletters or social media. We will have a huge giveaway to launch this new romantic suspense duet!

Runaway
Cascade Mountain Manhunt, Book 1

As a federal agent, spending a year running for his life felt like a nightmare from which Reed Monroe couldn’t wake. But with the notorious cartel on his tail for stealing their money as a DEA cybersecurity specialist, and his bosses believing he killed his partner to cover up his role as a mole, he didn’t have a choice. Running was the only option, at least until he proved he was innocent. Someone was willing to do anything to stop him from digging up the truth. And that someone worked for the DEA. He just had to live long enough to prove it.

Skye Winters had buried her nose in mystery novels most her life, desperate to escape the monotony of sleepy Cascade Creek, Washington. Her most exciting time of day is imagining the adventurous backstories of customers that sit in her station at the Rock Road Diner. Including one handsome stranger looking for a job as a short-order cook. Every adventurous story he regales her with is as unlikely as the next. Until one fateful and shocking day involving the arrival of cartel assassins reveals his stories aren’t at all fictional. The adventure she craves stares her in the face, far more vivid and dangerous than she imagined. For the first time ever, her fictional novels can’t possibly live up to reality. But is it more than she’s willing to handle?


Renegade
Cascade Mountain Manhunt, Book 2

Cascade Creek is the perfect home for Lynée Clark—the mountains, her friends, a cozy home, her dream job at the library. Life simply couldn’t be any more perfect. When a scruffy, tattooed man rides into town on his metallic stallion to arrest her best friend’s boyfriend, her perfect world is upturned into chaos. Everything goes wrong, her best friend is forced into hiding from a cartel assassin, and her predictable days are thrust into upheaval. But the only way to bring home her friend and return her turbulent life back to normal is to help the DEA Special Agent on his case to uncover the truth. Which means spending a lot of time up close and personal with this bearded troublemaker in leather with zero manners and an addiction to cursing.

Jace Ivy has one mission: capture a rogue DEA agent that all others have failed to seize. After three months of tracking, Jace claims victory on his most difficult trace yet. Only to realize Reed Monroe might not be the double-agent his bosses claim. Thanks to a bloodthirsty cartel hitman, bumps in the road grow into massive roadblocks. Ones he can’t break down without the help of an unexpected research assistant, a local librarian who volunteers to help him so her best friend can return home. Lynée accomplishes much more than deciphering the mountains of evidence in his case, but also batters down his defensive walls and beastly façade. How can he resist turning Miss Prim-and-Proper into a seductive temptress with an equally dirty mouth?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

MEET MINISTER AND CHRISTIAN ROMANCE AUTHOR CYNTHIA MIDDLEBROOKS HARRIS

Cynthia Middlebrooks Harris is both an ordained minister and an author African-American Christian romance. Today she joins us to discuss the challenges she faces combining these two parts of her life. Learn more about Cynthia and her books at her website and blog 

Doing What Feels Right
Christian authors are sometimes challenged with our choice of genre or content. Isn’t it amazing how others have the uncanny ability to pinpoint your strengths as a writer, and often strongly suggest the type of material they’re prophetically sure you should produce? We find ourselves, at times, yielding to the demand of others.

When I felt the urging from God to write fiction, moreover, Christian Romance Fiction, I instantly resisted. It wasn’t because I disagreed with the command from the Almighty. I cringed at the thought of the backlash I was destined to receive from my fellow ministers, and receive it, I did! “Why are you wasting your God-given talent on fiction? … With all your knowledge of the Bible, you chose fiction. And romance at that! … And just how do you suppose writing fiction will advance the kingdom of God? … You’ve grossly missed what God would have you to do… I can’t believe you are going to write that garbage… You’ll lose credibility as a minister of the gospel.”

Yet, I knew my imagination was a gift from God, early in my childhood. I spent the majority of my pre-teen years living inside of an imaginary world. No matter where I was or what I found myself doing, words were forever in my head. Soon, after many trials, tribulations, failures, and successes, Christianity and my imagination collided, and I emerged as a Christian Romance author. Christian or not, most everyone loves a good romance or drama novel.

Have you ever sat in church on Sunday morning, only to leave disappointed because you had no idea how to apply to your life what you just heard? Most often, the message is delivered as a prime cut of filet mignon, when instead, all you were capable of digesting at the time, was a hamburger. Inside, you scream, “Will someone please give me a simple answer to this Christian walk of life!”

I trusted God and followed his omniscient lead. Moreover, it just plain felt right! Through fiction writing, I dared to believe that marriages would be mended. I had a hope that young girls straddling the fence would choose to remain virtuous until their wedding nights. I prayed they would get the understanding that the jewels of the treasure box they have on lockdown should be opened only by the one who possesses the master key. 

It was also my desire that men would be challenged to rise to the occasion of the divine mandate of “mighty men of valor.” They will begin to become the heads of their homes and lead their wives and children after the manner laid out by God’s original design. They will begin to minister to their wives instead of choosing to throw caution and vows to the wind, going outside of the marriage bed at the first sign that the grass in their lawn has been overgrown with a few brown spots. They will begin to understand how devastated and lost their wives felt when they chose another over them.

I chose to dance to the beat of the drum that resonated deep within my spirit. The rhythm of my heart is exposed in this series. I could have chosen to fall in line with the instruction to use my “gift” to write nonfiction. If so, I would have missed a vast majority of the people who would never have chosen to pick up or open a bible. Some Christian authors fail in the task of writing a book that non-Christians will ever desire to read. I could have chosen, and written along the lines of the vast “Christian way of living” novels currently in print. The ones that often list seven ways to spirit living, five principles of the spirit-led man or battling the demons within. (These are not real titles. At least not to my knowledge. They are merely titles suggested as subjects for imagery, to drive home the point). And, the point is; if they have the word “Christian,” or “spirit living.” Some people will never open the cover even to view the first page. The reason, of course, they feel defeated, out-cast and substandard, in the title alone.

The Other Side of Through 
All Things Work Together, Book 1

Tragedy has struck Talinda Travis’ perfect world. A harsh reality has overshadowed the one thing she waited not so patiently on for a lifetime. The man of prophecy, handpicked by God just for her, lay dying in her arms at the hands of a mad man. How could this possibly be the right division of God’s word that says, ‘All things work together for the good?’  Talinda would come to understand her husband’s favorite quote that “Ministry is Always Required.” She finds herself in a place she thought she would never be at such a young age… a grieving widow. The woman she’d kept at arm’s length for most of her life would prove to be her most valuable asset as she fights to stay afloat emotionally.

Meanwhile, Nevette Naythia Goodfellow appears to be living the dream life with her newlywed husband, Derrick Justice Goodfellow II. She’s in total bliss and awe of God as she indulges in His most powerful gift on earth... love!  While Nevette is living inside her fairy tale, her closest friend Lindsay has perfected the art of masking a devastating secret. One that, if it were exposed, would threaten the spiritual stability of the small town where she spent most of her childhood. 

Every God-given emotion you have within will surface as you journey into Talinda and Nevette’s world in this riveting series. You will sigh with dreamy eyes…laugh out loud…cry and want to explode with revenge as you travel to The Other Side of Through with Talinda and Nevette!

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Monday, March 30, 2020

MYSTERY AUTHOR SHARON DAYNARD ON ROCKS, MINERALS & MURDER

Sharon Daynard’s writing runs the gamut from light and quirky to downright dark and troubling. Her debut novel, Murder Points North, puts a humorous spin on murder in a small town. Her short stories include “The Boss of Butler Square” which received Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award and “Widows Peak” which was short-listed for a Derringer Award. She’s been offered the services of a professional hitman, crossed paths with a serial killer, testified before grand juries, and taken lie detector tests. Learn more about Sharon and her various works on Facebook

Rock Paper Murder
Looking back, I’d have to say my rock and mineral collection started when I was on a 2nd grade field trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. The only souvenir the gift shop offered in my price range was four very small samples glued to an index card—a piece of granite, a piece of quartz, a piece of obsidian and a piece of sandstone. The next day during show-and-tell, no one, including me, was very impressed with it. The index card was unceremoniously retired to the junk drawer in my parent’s kitchen.

It was another ten years before I gave my “collection” another thought. I needed to pick a major for college. I wanted to study Environmental Sciences, but the college of my choice only offered a B.S. in Environmental Geology. Thinking maybe it was kismet all those years ago when I bought those four rock and mineral samples, I went with my gut and picked it. Worst-case scenario, I’d change majors at the end of my first semester. As it turned out I loved geology. My favorite subject was mineralogy and rock and mineral identification being my favorite lab. 

That rock and mineral collection on an index card has grown into boxes and crates stuffed with rock and mineral field samples neatly wrapped in newspaper and bubble wrap. My favorite rocks and minerals adorn my bookshelves and credenzas. About the only place you won’t find them is in a jewelry box. I think of it along the lines of a veterinarian wearing leather pants and a fur coat—it just doesn’t feel right. 

Fast forward a few years and degrees later and I decided I wanted to write a novel—a mystery novel. As the adage goes, “write what you know.” For me, that meant geology. I knocked around the idea of a female geology professor happening upon crimes and solving murders. I thought it was a great idea, I just didn’t know what geology had to do with murder, let alone playing into solving one until I was teaching a hands-on rock and mineral session to a group of Cubs Scouts. While I was passing around a field sample of my favorite mineral, galena, one of the boys commented that it was small but “super heavy.” I agreed and added, he had to be extra careful with it because even though it was heavy it was fragile. All of a sudden, I had an idea for a mystery novel. I knew who my protagonist was, who the killer was, what the murder weapon was and how the murder would be solved.

When writing Murder Points North, the similarity of IDing a rock or mineral and solving a murder wasn’t lost on me. With a rock or mineral, you start with one sample and a long list of possibilities. You narrow that list down based on hardness, luster, color, streak, specific gravity and cleavage to determine what your sample is. With a murder a detective/amateur sleuth has a long list of suspects and based on motive, means, and opportunity, they systematically narrow that list down to one person—the killer. 

If it wasn’t for that index card with four tiny samples of rocks and mineral in my parent’s junk drawer, I might never have majored in geology, and I certainly never would have written Murder Points North. The next time you come across an interesting rock or mineral while you’re walking along the beach, hiking through the woods, or even planting a flower, take a closer look at and imagine the stories it could tell you…

Murder Points North
With one week until Christmas, picturesque Points North, New Hampshire, hasn’t seen as much as a token flurry and the temperatures are almost as high as local tempers. The lack of snow, however, is the least of Liesl Alan’s worries.

Liesl teaches geology, collects rocks, minerals and ex-husbands—three at last count. On the brink of turning forty, she finds herself living amongst a group of eccentric “innmates” at the Muddled Moose, an inn her family has owned for generations. Hardly in the Christmas spirit, the last thing Liesl’s looking forward to is a night of wearing a too tight, too ruffled, too plaid gown for the village’s annual Home for the Holidays open house celebration.

When the event ends in a fiasco and someone from the Muddled Moose is found murdered, Liesl becomes the prime suspect of everyone from the lead homicide detective to her own mother. Fellow residents at the inn are even offering fashion tips for her inevitable perp walk and mug shot.

Determined to prove her innocence and find the real killer, Liesl teams up with a private eye wannabe. With a list of suspects that might as well include all of Points North, she has her work cut out for her, especially when each new clue points her in a different direction.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST ROMANCE AUTHOR HELEN LYNCH

Today we sit down with romance author Helen Lynch. A former hometown newspaper reporter for nearly twenty years, Helen left embark on a career as a romance writer. She now spends her days writing sweet contemporary romance in a small town in Western New York. Learn more about Helen and her books at her website. 

What made you decide to become a writer?
Like many writers, I started out as a book lover. I was five years old when I got my first library card and have been reading voraciously ever since. Looking back it makes sense. I’ve always felt it was a natural progression to go from reader to writer. 

What, if any, is your day job?
Before retiring to write full time, I worked as a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, the Buffalo News, as a general assignment reporter. That basically means I covered whatever was happening that day. Never knowing what to expect, and being in the moment was fun and exhilarating. In addition, I wrote a weekly feature called Neighborhoods, which focused on communities and what made them unique, which was good preparation for my small town settings. I have to say, except for writing fiction, reporting was the most fun I’ve had professionally. 

What drew you to write romance?
Once I decided to pursue writing as a career, it was a no-brainer. Who doesn’t love a happy ending? It’s my favorite genre to read, whether it’s a romantic suspense, a historical romance or a contemporary romance. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from an editor was to always focus on the romance and just “tell me a love story.”

What sub-genre do you prefer?
I’m presently writing sweet, small town contemporary romance. I love the small town feel, the sense of community, the bond of family and friends, everything that makes up life in a small town, or community. A reader recently told me they would love to live in my fictional town. That made my day! 

What are you working on now?
My latest offering, The Innkeeper’s Bride, is up for preorder now at most retailers. It’s the first book in my new series, White Lace and Promises, which follows one family and a special country inn in the small New England town of Blossom Creek. Bellamy and Declan O’Neill have come home to Blossom Creek to finalize their divorce, but their late grandmother has other plans for them. And Grandma Rosie always gets her way.

What do you do for fun when you’re not reading or writing?
I’m just now returning home from wintering in Florida. Whether it’s Cape Cod, where we spent our summer vacations when my kids were growing up, or the semi-tropical beauty of the sunshine state, I could happily live by the beach forever. Watching it roll in, endless and almost infinite, coupled with sunshine and blue skies, has both a calming and nourishing effect on me. 

Then of course, there is wine and music, and seafood and chocolate. And always, my grandchildren.

The Innkeeper’s Bride
White Lace and Promises, Book 1

Bellamy and Declan O’Neill return home to the small New England town of Blossom Creek to deal with a bequest that neither of them wants: joint ownership of his late grandmother’s country inn.

Bellamy immediately sees the bequest for what it is: Declan’s grandmother’s last attempt at matchmaking. She knows Grandma Rosie died believing that she and Declan still loved each other and belong together.

As they arrive in town, the estranged couple is convinced of two things: their marriage needs to end, and the last thing either of them wants is to be in business together. But, the terms of the will are clear: they must run the inn together at least until the estate is settled.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SUSPENSE AUTHOR DONNELL ANN BELL'S GRANDMOTHERLY CONFESSION & ROLE REVERSALS

The Author and her Grandson on the Night in Question
Award-winning suspense author Donnell Ann Bell gave up her non-writing fiction career in newspapers and magazines because she was obsessed with the notion she could write a mystery or thriller. Black Pearl, her latest release, is a finalist in the 2020 Colorado Book Awards for Best Thriller. Learn more about Donnell and her books at her website

Role Reversal and Grandmotherly Confessions
My mother used to say she’d never be a mother-in-law or a grandmother. She also claimed she had three only children. So, when it came to family, I think she may have had issues. I thought the mother-in-law/grandmother statements rather odd as one doesn’t generally get a choice in the matter. 

Don’t get me wrong; my mother isn’t a selfish human being. She’s a retired registered nurse who genuinely loves helping people. She just didn’t enjoy the stigma that went along with the older woman titles.

As I got older and approached the mother-in-law stage and grandmother title, I understood a bit of what she was trying to say. I was also correct that my children didn’t consult me when the time came, and made me a mother-in-law and a grandmother, without so much as a by your leave.

Here’s the clincher, with the title of grandmother, my children asked me to babysit. I was happy to do it if they remained close by and I could ask for guidance. I mean, have you seen all the changes that have occurred in the last thirty years?  Babies no longer sleep on their stomachs; car seats are designed straight out of NASA. There are monitors everywhere that I’m told the FBI envies. What if I did something wrong?

My grown children laughed at me. “Mom, you’ll be fine. Here’s the monitor. Text us if there’s a problem.”

I paid attention to all of my, “Mom, these are your instructions,” which brought back a little PTSD as I remember asking the nurse before leaving the hospital when my daughter was born…”Could you show me how to put that diaper on one more time?”

Okay, I wasn’t born with a maternal gene—there I’ve said it.
  
Anyway, my instructions were simple. As soon as my grandson took his bottle, I was to change his diaper, put him in his sleep sack, lay him face up in his crib, tell him goodnight, turn on the nightlight, the white noise, the monitor, and slip out of the room. Simple instructions, right?

You might as well have told me I would be performing open-heart surgery. My son and daughter and their spouses are so regimented. And get this, their systems work. They can put their children down at night and leave the room! Can you believe it?

Me? My grandson must’ve sensed my anxiety because I followed my instructions to the letter. Bottle, check. Diaper, check. Sleep Sack…. This is where I may have messed up. Poor grandson, he wasn’t the least bit sleepy after I got through trying to get that contraption on. He was wide-eyed and petrified that this woman didn’t have a clue what she was doing.

At that, I did what any grandmother in her right mind would do. I reverted to my old ways. I took that little boy out of his crib, walked him for a solid two hours, then collapsed in the rocking recliner. My son texted me to see how things were going. Grandson and I were so proud, we sent him a selfie. Then my daughter came home, smiled sadly, shook her head at me and took a picture as well. 

All right. I may not have a grandmother gene, but I love these children fiercely and nothing’s going to happen on my watch. 

My kids have taught me so much. I am blessed to have amazing daughters-in-law. They’re pretty patient with me. As the children get older, I’m the best Grammy in the world as far as playing with them and keeping them entertained. But that newbie business is downright terrifying.

Clearly, a bit of role reversal has happened in the last thirty years. 

Black Pearl
A cold case heats up when a 9-1-1 call puts police at a Denver murder scene pointing investigators to the abduction of a Colorado teenager fourteen years before. The connection? A calling carda single black pearl—is found on the newest victim. Is the murder a copycat? Or has a twisted serial killer, thought dead or in prison, returned to kill again?

The hunt for a multi-state killer is on and brings together an unexpected team: a Denver Major Crimes police lieutenant; an FBI special agent who investigated the previous murders, a rookie FBI agent with a specialty in psychology; and the only living victim of the Black Pearl Killer is now a cop.

For Special Agent Brian DiPietro, the case is an opportunity to find answers. For Officer Allison Shannon, the case will force her to face down the town that blamed her for surviving when another did not. And for both DiPietro and Shannon, it’s a chance to find closure to questions that have tormented them both for years.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

AUTHOR JUDY ALTER WRITES ABOUT THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE ALAMO

The Alamo
You may Judy Alter know her as a mystery author, but Judy wears several literary hats, as the prolific author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She’s focused much of her career on writing about women of the American West and has been honored with the Western Writers of America Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement. She’s been inducted into both the WWA and the Fort Worth Public Library Literary Hall of Fame. Learn more about Judy and her books at her website and her two blogs: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com and http://www.gourmetonahotplate.blogspot.comToday Judy joins us to tell us about the latest addition to her books on American West women.

The Second Battle of the Alamo

Every year over two million people visit Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo, site of the massacre by Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna of heroes of the 1836 Texas Revolution--Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William B. Travis, along with more than two hundred men other men. If you haven’t visited, the Alamo should be high on your bucket list. There’s something breathtaking about standing in front of that iconic chapel or looking at the adjacent long barracks.

When you visit this shrine, you should know the story not only of the siege but also of the second battle of the Alamo. In 1903, the threat of demolition hung over the remaining portions of the mission. Two women combined their efforts to preserve the historic site. 

Adina De Zavala had the passion for historical accuracy; Clara Driscoll had the money. Neither could have saved the Alamo alone, but together they bought the long barracks, where the Battle of the Alamo was actually fought, from private owners and turned it over to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to manage. 

Although they were very different—one was a young Anglo woman with untold wealth who had been on grand tours of Europe, the other of Hispanic descent, approaching middle age, who had never traveled beyond Texas—theirs was a natural union. 

However, hard headedness—sometimes a Texas trait—turned what was once a friendship into bitter rivalry that reached a zenith when Adina barricaded herself in the long barracks for three days. The ladies’ fight to save the mission and their own fight has come to be known as the second battle of the Alamo.

Clara wanted the chapel to stand alone, in a park-like setting, as a shrine to the martyred heroes. She offered to pay for the demolition of the long barracks. Adina held firm that the fighting took place in the barracks, and the building must be preserved for its historic significance. Both women were members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and their enmity tore the organization apart. 
The Long Barracks 
Eventually, Adina won the battle but lost the war. The long barracks was preserved, but she and her followers were expelled from the DRT. For almost a hundred years, Clara was hailed as the “Savior of the Alamo,” while history ignored Adina. 

Clara was never involved in another historic preservation project. Adina, on the other hand, devoted her long life to historic preservation, exploring missions in East Texas and saving the Governor’s Palace in San Antonio. An early member of many of Texas’ history-oriented organization, such as the Texas State Historical Society, she tirelessly collected information and fought for her cause, Not until the 1990s did historians begin to look with any depth at her part in saving the Alamo.

The Alamo has withstood many battles since it’s eighteenth-century founding and today stands as a symbol of heroism and loyalty. It has inspired everything from movies to jigsaw puzzles. The cry of “Remember the Alamo” is known throughout the world. But few people know that without these two women, the Alamo might well be just another shabby shrine—or worse yet, a parking lot.

So go visit the Alamo, stand outside the barred windows of the long barracks and maybe, just maybe, you can see Adina peering out from the room where she took her stand, the very room where, it is said, that William B. Travis died.

The Second Battle of the Alamo
By 1900, the tale of the 300 Texans who died in the 1836 battle of the Alamo had already become legend. But to corporate interests in the growing City of San Antonio, the land where that blood was shed was merely a desirable plot of land across the street from new restaurants and hotels, with only a few remaining crumbling buildings to tell the tale. When two women, Adina Emilia De Zavala, the granddaughter of the first vice-president of the Texas Republic, and Clara Driscoll, the daughter of one of Texas’s most prominent ranch families and first bankers, learned of the plans, they hatched a plan to preserve the site—and in doing so, they reinvigorated both the legend and lore of the Alamo and cemented the site’s status as hallowed ground. These two strong-willed, pioneering women were very different, but the story of how they banded together and how the Alamo became what it is today despite those differences, is compelling reading for those interested in Texas history and Texas’s larger-than-life personality.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--A.R. KENNEDY TAKES HER SLEUTH ON SAFARI

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, “I work so my dog can have a better life”. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves. Learn more about A.R. and her books at her website. 

Safari Lingo
As a writer, I’m fascinated by words. Did you know safari is Swahili for journey?

As an author, trying to be profitable, I read a lot about keywords—for advertisements, marketing and selling. Did you know a safari has keywords, too?
The Big Five — The Big Five represents the five animals that most tourists are seeking to see while on safari—lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo and rhinoceroses. This isn’t originally a tourism term. During colonial times, the term was used to list what trophy hunters considered the most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot. 

The Little Five — These are five small animals that a traveler can seek out in Africa – the Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver and Leopard Tortoise. Did you notice they all have the Big Five in their name? They can be looked for on a bush walk.

Bush Walk — A bush walk is also known as a safari walk or a game walk. Most safaris spend most the time on game drives but this short walk is a great way to find animal tracks, to take you where vehicles can’t go, and to get up close to local geology and plants. 

Game Drive — It’s the highlight of any safari. It’s how you search out the Big Five and experience Africa’s beautiful landscape. Many tours will have two game drives a day, one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon. During the heat of the day, it’s best to be out of the hot African sun, lounging in the shade at the pool or taking a nap in your room.

Sundowners — Some of you may know this term as it relates to people with dementia. But on safari it is an extremely positive event. It’s HAPPY HOUR! While watching a magnificent sunset, your guide provides you with the drink of your choice—champagne, wine, beer, or juice. Light snacks are also served. It is a safari tradition, dating back to colonial times.

In Sleuth on Safari, the first in my new The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series, main character Naomi learns all these terms while on safari with her sister Charlotte. Join them on an adventure of a lifetime! Available 3/24/2020. Now on pre-order.

Sleuth on Safari

A bargain deal on a safari + one dead body = An adventure no one could plan for.

Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer.