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.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

#TRAVEL--MAINE MOOSE?


Here in New Jersey we have lots of deer, not only in rural areas but even in highly populated parts of the state where you wouldn’t expect to find woodland critters. One even wandered into a local strip mall Laundromat a few years ago.

So you often see deer crossing signs as you drive along the Garden State Parkway, the NJ Turnpike, and various highways that crisscross the state.


On a recent trip to Maine when I passed countless moose crossing signs along the highways, I expected to see at least a moose or two in the wild. 

But the only moose I came across was Lenny, billed as the world's only life-size chocolate moose. He was sculpted from 1700 pounds of fine grade milk chocolate in a mere four weeks back in 1997.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

NATIONAL CREATIVITY DAY


According to the National Day Calendar nationaldaycalendar.com, today is National Creativity Day. Maybe. From what I was able to find out, today is actually supposed to be the FIRST National Creativity Day, which was founded by Hal Croasmun and ScreenwritingU to “celebrate the imaginative spirits everywhere and to encourage them to keep creating.” Unfortunately, when you click on the link for National Creativity Day, instead of bringing you to a website, it brings you to GoDaddy.


But hey, let’s celebrate anyway by doing something creative today! As Joss Whedon has said, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, Sauté it, whatever. Make.” So pick up a pen, a camera, a guitar, a crochet hook, a paintbrush, a frying pan—whatever—or let your fingers fly freely over a keyboard, either the QWERTY kind or the kind with 88 keys. Let your muse run wild for the day. It's good for body and soul.

Life is short. Spend it creating—today and every day. Both you and the world will be better for it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--CHIA SEED PUDDING WITH GUEST AUTHOR JOANNE GUIDOCCIO

Today we're happy to welcome back Joanne Guidoccio, a frequent guest of our blog. In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement from a 31-year teaching career and decided to launch a second act as a writer of cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Joanne is hosting a giveaway. Click here for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Chia Seed Power!
From the start, I loved the sound of the Mayan word “chia” and its meaning: strength. Originally grown in Mexico, these seeds were valued for their nutritional and medicinal properties. Runners and warriors used chia seeds as fuel while running long distances or during battles. Aztec warriors claimed that one spoonful of chia seeds could sustain them for 24 hours.

Recent research has found even more benefits. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants, chia seeds support the heart and digestive system, build stronger bones and muscles, promote healthy skin, and can help reverse diabetes.

Definitely a superfood and one that can be easily incorporated into our daily diets. A reassuring fact for non-foodies (like protagonist Gilda Greco and me) who don’t like to cook.

Here’s my quick and easy-to-prepare recipe for chia seed pudding... the perfect solution for breakfast-on-the-go or a delicious snack.

Chia Seed Pudding
(serves 4)

Ingredients
2 cups almond milk (Use coconut milk if you’re trying to steer clear of nuts)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet Stevia
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 scoop plant-based protein powder, unflavored or vanilla (Optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for one to two minutes until completely smooth.

Pour mixture into a jar or glass container and refrigerate for at least four hours. I prefer to let it refrigerate overnight so it has time to thicken into a creamy texture.
Stir a few times within the first hour to help the mixture gel evenly.

To serve, divide among bowls and top with your favorite fruit. I like to use berries, cantaloupe, honeydew, or grapes.

Note: If you would like more color and/or variety, consider these variations while blending:

~Mix in 1/4 cup cocoa powder.

~Add a pinch of ground cardamom and cloves.

~Add 3 T. each of nut butter and jelly.

~Add one banana.

A Different Kind of Reunion
While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.
Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.
Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?

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Monday, May 28, 2018

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

Anastasia and the gang are taking the day off to honor all the brave men and women who have answered the call and given their lives to protect our freedoms.

Friday, May 25, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CAROLINE CLEMENS

Today we sit down for a chat with author Caroline Clemmons. Caroline writes contemporary and historical western romance, time travel romance (past to present), and mystery. Her romances usually include a mystery because she feels it makes them more interesting to write. Learn more about Caroline and her books at her website and blog.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
As a child I used to “write” and illustrate stories—each of which usually involved a beautiful princess in a pretty blue dress. Later I became a voracious reader. It wasn’t until I was married with my own children that I thought about writing for publication. My first book was Be My Guest in 1978.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Years and years and a lot of rejections. Until I joined Romance Writers of America, I didn’t realize how bad my letters requesting representation and/or publication had been. This is why I recommend anyone who wants to become a writer to join a professional chapter, which has quality programs on the basics of writing and access to those who need critique partners. Any critique partner won’t do—I’ve had a couple of terrible critique partners (one who plagiarized my work) and some excellent ones.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I began with a traditional NY publisher but they dropped me after four titles because I argued with marketing—not a good idea. Still, I was right, and they were not, and now I make more indie than I ever could have made with them. From NY I went with a lovely small press, The Wild Rose Press. Lovely, professional staff but I decided to strike out on my own. I’ve been very pleased with the result. In my opinion, indie publishing is the best!

Where do you write?
I have a small office adjoining our master bedroom. The walls are pink, so my family calls it my “pink cave”. I use a desktop with a thirty-inch television as a monitor that is so easy on the eyes after hours of writing. So nice to have a short commute to work.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I used to listen to classical music while I was writing. For the past two books I’ve used Dragon speech-to-text software due to wrist and hand problems, so I’ve not had music in the background. My West Texas twang is confusing enough for Dragon without adding music. However, my wrist and hand problems are almost gone.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
We are the sum of all our life experiences, so in that way I suppose all plots and characters come from my life or what I observe around me. I strongly feel that each character carries a part of me, even the villains. Each of us is so complex that we have many “people” living inside of us.

Describe your process for naming your character?
Character names are serious business. If historical, I choose a name that’s correct for that time period. If contemporary, I still choose carefully. Names can set a mood. Heroes especially need a strong name. My latest heroes are the Knight brothers and their cousin.

Real settings or fictional towns?
I prefer fictional towns so no one can say, “I’ve been there and that street doesn’t have a café” or some such comment. With a fictional place, I can put whatever I want/need in the town and no one knows the difference. I often have a real town or city nearby, however.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
I’ve had some pretty quirky characters but I suppose it’s the heroine of Texas Rainbow who loves vintage clothes and speech.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
So many to choose from, LOL. I suppose it’s my addiction to Cherry Dr. Pepper.

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I guess it would be Julie Garwood’s Prince Charming. I love that book and reread it occasionally. She achieved the perfect blend of English and USA western historical.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
How long do I have? My stars, there are so many things I wish I’d done differently, especially raising our daughters.  I wish we’d home schooled them, done all sorts of things differently. They turned out so well and I’m proud of the adults they are—and a little in awe. 

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who think tearing down someone else elevates them. Why not be kind? 

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
1. My husband  
2. A machete if there’s vegetation on this island 
3. Fishing line (my husband is a great fisherman so we wouldn’t starve)  

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I once worked for a doctor who was ill-mannered to his patients and a pinch-penny with his staff.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
That depends on my mood. Among those I’d consider are westerns by Louis L’Amour, Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase, Prince Charming by Julie Garwood, and The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osbourne. I love reading, so I could go on and on with books I loved enough to save them and reread. 

Ocean or mountains?
In general I prefer mountains because I really dislike being hot. I do love watching waves, so if I can stay indoors and view the water through glass, that would be nice. I love walking on a beach when it’s dark and the moon is out.

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
City girl now. We lived in a rural area for a couple of decades, but moved back to the city four years ago. I do enjoy being close to everything I need and having a well-manicured lawn cared for by someone else.

What’s on the horizon for you?
More books! I plan a book a month for the rest of this year. I have so many plots and characters in my head that I want to write. 

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Not just for me but for all authors: if you enjoy a book, please leave a nice review.

Texas Storm
A Texas Time Travel, Book 3

Jeannie Luttrell’s passion in life is piloting airplanes. She doesn’t mind the low pay, long hours, or the fact that as a World War II Women’s Air Service Pilot (WASP) she has to pay her own expenses. A faulty oil pressure line causes her P-51 Mustang’s engine to fail and she has to bail out during a storm. When she lands the wind drags her across the ground and into a small ravine where her head strikes a rock.

When Caleb Knight sees a person struggling with a parachute on his cousin’s ranch, he knows what has happed. Another woman has landed in the small part of a ravine that appears to be a time portal from the past. Twice before a woman has come forward in time at this spot. He stops and takes the stranded pilot to his cousin’s home but then he plans to be uninvolved. Darned if he’ll let the family rope him into their shenanigans.

No matter how hard he tries, Caleb can’t avoid Jeannie. Soon, he isn’t so certain he wants to. But, how can two strong-willed individuals who view the world differently build a relationship?  Especially, now that they have the same enemy plotting against them?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

#TRAVEL TO PORTLAND, MAINE'S FLEA FOR ALL WITH AUTHOR LOIS WINSTON

Inside the Flea for All
I’m not a big fan of reality TV, but I do enjoy shows where people create things. I love to watch baking shows, home decorating and renovation shows, and Flea Market Flip. So on a recent trip to Portland to speak at the Maine Romance Writers Retreat, I had to check out the Portland Flea for All.

This indoor flea market had the usual assortment of clothing, jewelry, and household items from various bygone decades, but while walking around, I also came across an array of extremely eclectic items, like a headless acrylic mannequin seated on a sofa:
a Mardi Gras head: 
and a jar of baby parts:

I also stumbled upon a Tom Thumb typewriter, which happens to be my first typewriter: 
I think I was about eight years old when I received it. I don’t remember who gave me the typewriter, probably my grandmother. I wonder if somehow she knew that her first-born grandchild would grow up to write novels.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY “PAPERBACK WRITER”

On this day in 1966 the Beatles released “Paperback Writer”. As the protagonist of a paperback series, I know that my author, Lois Winston, has a special attachment to this song. Lois wrote for ten years before she sold her first book, Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous novel about a crafty Iowa mother, her rebellious daughter, and the daughter’s imaginary friend.

Throughout those ten years, Lois received plenty of positive feedback, won writing contests, and landed an agent, but she was never offered a book contract. She’d receive rejection letters that praised her writing, her story, and her characters but would end with, “but ultimately I didn’t fall in love with the book, and for that reason, I must pass on it.”  How frustrating, right? Her agent never asked any of these editors to marry her book, just publish it! 

But finally, after a decade-long gestation period, Lois’s dream of becoming a paperback writer finally came true when she was offered a publishing contract for Talk Gertie to Me. The book received some glowing reviews, including one from Booklist, which stated, “Winston’s small-town-girl-makes-good romance shouldn’t be missed.”

I, for one, am incredibly grateful Lois never gave up. Five years after the release of Talk Gertie to Me, Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries hit bookstore shelves. Without Gertie, there never would have been an Anastasia.

Talk Gertie To Me

Two years ago Nori Stedworth fled the conservative mentality of both her parents and Ten Commandments, Iowa, for Manhattan. She loves her new life—until one devastating afternoon that culminates with the arrival of her mother. Mom Connie is suffering from middle-age meltdown. Her only identity is as a wife and mother, but her husband is a workaholic, and her daughter is halfway across the country. Grandchildren would give her life new purpose. If only Nori would come to her senses and marry town mortician and most eligible bachelor Eugene Draymore.

To that end, Mom sets off to bring Nori home. But when she meets Nori’s neighbor, her plans take an unexpected twist, and she’s thrust headfirst into a career as the next Martha Stewart. Suddenly, she’s a somebody in her own right and reconsiders returning to her old life.

As a coping mechanism, Nori resurrects Gertie, her adolescent imaginary friend. A laptop mix-up lands her musings in the hands of Mackenzie Randolph, a talk-radio station manager on deadline to boost sagging ratings or lose his job. He knows he’s found the answer to his prayers when he reads Nori’s make-believe correspondence.

And maybe he’s found much more.

Meanwhile Dad, with Eugene in tow, comes in search of his AWOL wife.Tempers flare when Mom refuses to return home. However, when she and Dad hear Nori on the radio, they unite to “save” her from the corruption of both Mac and Manhattan.

And that’s when things really get interesting.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--AUTHOR KATHY OTTEN BAKES CIVIL WAR GINGERBREAD

Kathy Otten is the author of multiple historical romance novels, novellas, and short stories as well as contemporary romance and historical fiction. Today she joins us to discuss cooking during the Civil War. Learn more about Kathy and her books at her website.

While researching my new Civil War novel, I discovered that gingerbread was a particular favorite of soldiers during the war. Families sent the treat in care packages to their loved ones along with socks, which marching soldiers always needed. It was also considered nutritious and easy to digest, which is why it was considered good hospital food.

Maybe the nutrition was in the molasses. I only wonder about this because my mother, when she was a little girl back in the 30’s, was given sulfur and molasses every spring by her grandparents.

In my story, the nuns helped my heroine make gingerbread for the wounded in the hospital. In digging through old recipes, I thought I’d give it a try. The photos I’d seen from that time period showed the gingerbread having been baked in a loaf pan and cut into slices. When I made mine, I poured the batter into a traditional square pan.

And of course the recipe I followed had been revised like many recipes were in the late 1800’s. Women such as Fanny M. Farmer and Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, eliminated such vague measurements such as “a good size piece,” “middlin,’” and “large cup,” standardizing measurements and including specific cooking instructions. Until then, cookbooks were uncommon and recipes were handed down from generation to generation.

My great-great-grandfather was a baker, and he had a notebook that was passed down on my mother’s side of the family. They were his notes and recipes so phrases like, “add enough milk to bake good,” make recreating his recipes nearly impossible.

So I dug through the Internet and one of my go-to books, Food on the Frontier, Minnesota Cooking from 1850 to 1900, by Marjorie Kreidberg. The recipe I found inside, A “Very Good” Gingerbread was from Anna Ramsey’s Book of Recipes, 1865.

However, this recipe called for 2 cups of molasses, and I didn’t have enough, so I found a second recipe used by Josephine Peffer, a twelve-year-old girl who won a blue ribbon for her gingerbread at the 1860 Wisconsin State Fair.

Civil War Gingerbread

Ingredients:
1 cup Molasses
1 T. ground ginger
1/4 lb. butter, softened
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk (which I made by using regular milk and adding 2 tablespoons vinegar and letting it sit for a few minutes—an old trick my mother taught me)
2 eggs
2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square pan and dust lightly with flour. Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Add the buttermilk and molasses and blend.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the center of the gingerbread. If it comes out clean, the gingerbread is done. Cool the pan and cut into 9 pieces.

It is really rather good and has no sugar added.  I’d recommend trying it, and I understand why that little girl from long ago won her blue ribbon.

A Place in Your Heart
Gracie McBride isn’t looking for love; she’s looking for respect. But in this man’s world of Civil War medicine, Gracie is expected to maintain her place changing beds and writing letters. Her biggest nemesis is the ward surgeon, Doctor Charles Ellard, who seems determined to woo her with arrogant kisses and terrible jokes.

Charles is an excellent surgeon. He assumed he would be well received by an army at war. He was not. Friendless and alone, he struggles to hide the panic attacks that plague him, while the only person who understands him is a feisty Irish nurse clearly resolved to keep him at a distance.

But, Charles is sent to the battlefield, and Gracie is left with a wounded soldier, a box of toys, and a mystery which can only be solved by the one man she wishes could love her, both as a woman and a nurse.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--INTERVIEW WITH CRAFTER CONNIE STEDWORTH

Today we sit down for a chat with crafter Connie Stedworth from author Lois Winston’s Talk Gertie to Me.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Boring. I know most characters who are interviewed on this blog complain about their authors, but Lois Winston did me a huge favor. She forced me out of my same old/same old existence and gave me an exciting life.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
My creativity. I can create just about anything with a few basic craft supplies.

What do you like least about yourself?
That it took me until menopause to become more than just a housewife and mother.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
She had me create the most bizarre craft imaginable, then had me demonstrate it on Mel Gibson on Late Night with David Letterman (before Dave retired.)

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I don’t. I appreciate all she’s done for me. However, my daughter and her imaginary friend have both had quite a few rather vocal arguments with Lois.

What is your greatest fear?
Divorce. I love my husband, but lately we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on much of anything, and I feel we’re drifting too far apart to come back together.

What makes you happy?
Being able to express myself artistically and creatively.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I wish I’d had the courage to break out of my shell and spread my wings earlier. I could have had so many more opportunities if I'd only taken a few chances.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
My husband Earnest. I love the man, but he's so…well, Earnest. It’s the twenty-first century, but the man is still stuck back in the 1950’s.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
My daughter Nori. I admire her courage in leaving Ten Commandments, Iowa and moving to New York City. (Although, I’ll admit I was opposed to it at first.)

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Lois Winston is the creator of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries and the Empty Nest Mysteries, as well as award-winning romance, romantic suspense, and chick lit. You can find her website at www.loiswinston.com.

What's next for you?
Lois wrote a novella sequel to Talk Gertie to Me, and this time she’s got us involved in solving a murder. Can you imagine? You can read all about it in Elementary, My Dear Gertie. Beyond that, I don’t know. She’s pretty wrapped up with Anastasia the last few years, but someday she might give Anastasia a little vacation from sleuthing and write another book about my family and me. I’d really like to become a grandmother at some point in the not-too-distant future. (That's a hint, Lois!)

Talk Gertie to Me
Two years ago Nori Stedworth fled the conservative mentality of both her parents and Ten Commandments, Iowa, for Manhattan. She loves her new life -- until one devastating afternoon that culminates with the arrival of her mother. Mom is suffering from middle-age meltdown. Her only identity is as a wife and mother, but her husband is a workaholic, and her daughter is halfway across the country. Grandchildren would give her life new purpose. If only Nori would come to her senses and marry town mortician and most eligible bachelor Eugene Draymore.

To that end, Mom sets off to bring Nori home. But when she meets Nori’s neighbor, her plans take an unexpected twist, and she’s thrust headfirst into a career as the next Martha Stewart. Suddenly, she’s a somebody in her own right and reconsiders returning to her old life.

As a coping mechanism, Nori resurrects Gertie, her adolescent imaginary friend. A laptop mix-up lands her musings in the hands of Mackenzie Randolph, a talk-radio station manager on deadline to boost sagging ratings or lose his job. He knows he’s found the answer to his prayers when he reads Nori’s make-believe correspondence. 

And maybe he’s found much more.

Meanwhile Dad, with Eugene in tow, comes in search of his AWOL wife. Tempers flare when Mom refuses to return home. However, when she and Dad hear Nori on the radio, they unite to “save” her from the corruption of both Mac and Manhattan.

And that’s when things really get interesting.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--INTERVIEW WITH MYSTERY AUTHOR JAMES M. JACKSON'S P.I. SEAMUS McCREE

Today we’re joined by Seamus McCree from mystery author James M. Jackson’s Seamus McCree series. Learn more about James and his books at his website

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
In a word, boring. I was working for an outfit called Criminal Investigations Group (CIG). It’s a nonprofit that assists local police departments with expertise they don’t have. After I’d quit my Wall Street job, where I was the top-ranked bank stock analyst (yawn), the head of CIG talked me into creating a financial crimes group for them. This wasn’t long after 9/11 when the FBI transferred much of their white-collar crime resources to battling terrorism, and local departments were struggling.

I convinced a lot of good people to help CIG develop a crackerjack team of computer geeks and forensic accountants who can track money wherever it goes. When that became routine, I asked CIG to allow me to work directly with police on some assignments.

Be careful what you ask for.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
If I say I’m going to do something, I will.

What do you like least about yourself?
I can be a tad stubborn.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
He made me submit my recipe for homemade pizza with applesauce topping for a cookbook he and bunch of his friends put together. It’s called KP Authors Cook Their Books, and it’s free on Kindle if you’re interested.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Well, we sure as heck didn’t agree on that recipe idea. We don’t argue a lot. I’m a very good listener, so I can let him vent, and when I want something I’m so subtle he usually thinks it was his idea! After I’ve mastered something, I get bored with it. That’s when I hack his dreams and plant ideas, like “let Seamus work directly with the police” or most recently, “let Seamus bring someone to his remote camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to protect them.” He lets me do it, but it doesn’t always go the way I anticipated.

What is your greatest fear?
He’ll stop caring about what happens to me and my family. Then we’re goners.

What makes you happy?
My family has always made me happy. Even when my son, Paddy, infuriates me, I’m proud as punch about everything he has accomplished. And now that I have a granddaughter—well, I was born to be Grampa Seamus.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
It’s back-story I’d like to change. I was (okay, am) a driven man. During the time I worked on Wall Street, I didn’t spend enough time with my family. When rough times come to a couple they need to draw on their emotional bank accounts to get through. Problem was, when our challenges came, I had already overdrawn my account. It would have been better for Paddy to grow up with two parents in the house.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
That’s easy. The Happy Reaper and not just because he’s an extremely competent assassin. He exhibits qualities that I admire. I’m all about my word being my bond; his business card promotes his “Results Guaranteed.” Plus, he could have killed me, and I don’t like owing anyone anything.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
My granddaughter, Megan. Even though I say I wouldn’t want to be a kid these days, I’m a late baby boomer. My generation has screwed up its chance to change the world in a positive way. I have hope the kids can do it. She’s curious and smart, and she loves to read. I have the feeling she’s going to be a “take charge” kind of woman.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
He splits his time between the remote woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but I think they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. His blog is on his website, https://jamesmjackson.com. There, you can sign up for his newsletter, check his social network links, and find out more about him and me. If you want to chat with me directly, I have my own email address: SeamusMcCreee@jamesmjackson.com and I’d love to hear from you.

What's next for you?
I was shocked to learn my Uncle Mike was murdered. He named me his executor, which meant I needed to return to my native Boston. Problem is, the legacy he left me to take care of consisted of more than tangible assets, and he left no clear instructions.

Empty Promises
A Seamus McCree Novel, book 5

Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.

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