Friday, July 3, 2015

FRIYAY!!

Friyay and giveaway winners!!

YAY!! It's FriYAY!!! Congratulations winners!! YOU have one week to claim your prize by emailing me through my contact page on my website.

Monday's winner of the garden fun pack: Mary Richardson
Tasty Tuesday Winner: Peggy and roman holiday cocktail!

Happy Forth of July!! Be sure to jump over to the Whodunit page on Facebook tomorrow. They are throwing one heck of a party!!!!



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Guest Day!

Please give a big ole southern howdo to welcome Nancy Jill Thames as our guest today! She's was gracious enough to sit down in one of my white rockers with a glass of ice cold sweet tea and answer a few questions. After all, she is known as the QUEEN OF AFTERNOON TEA ;)

What’s the story behind the title of your book?
After reading so many murder mysteries and watching endless episodes of “Murder She Wrote,” I decided to write a mystery of my own as a personal challenge. I had no idea of what writing a book was about, much less how to publish. All I knew was how to tell a story.

My husband and I were at a business retreat at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay at the end September of 2001. This was immediately after 911.
With pen in hand, I wandered about the hotel taking notes, and imagining what it would be like for an amateur sleuth to be staying here. I created characters based on hotel staff, myself as the heroine, and my garden club friends. After I got home, I added more characters based on people I’d encounter running errands. The story got as far as 12 chapters before my 12 year old daughter told me how unbelievable it was. She said to abandon the project. What she was really saying was, “Pay more attention to me.” I complied.

But after eight years, at the insistence of my “techie” son, I started a blog, posting one chapter at a time as a way to get computer literate and back to writing. The Half Moon Bay Review noticed the location and showed an interest in the story. When they asked for an interview. I went into super writing mode, checked out a book from the library on how to write a murder mystery, and finished “Murder in Half Moon Bay” a few months later.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
The heroine, Jillian Bradley, is a feisty garden columnist with a nose for solving homicides, especially when they involve friends and family. Her clue-sniffing sidekick is a Yorkie weighing four and a half pounds named Teddy, who goes wherever Jillian does.  Since she’s widowed and childless, her garden club friends play an important part in her life.  The three women help Jillian solve mysteries in several of the books. Settings take place in the Bay Area; Scottsdale, Arizona; Half Moon Bay, California; London; Lake Placid, NY; and the most recent story is in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The hallmarks of my books are afternoon tea, fine art, and visits to lovely hotels. “Murder in Half Moon Bay” can be a standalone until you read the last line which says, “Not the End.” The rest of the books are stand alone with the exception of Books 6 and 7. Book 7, “The Ruby of Siam,” is a continuation of “Waiting for Santa.”

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
It’s not what happens to you – it’s how you react to what happens to you.

Have you been in any natural disasters? The earthquake of 1989 shook our home in Sacramento, sloshed the water out of the pool at my brother’s house a couple of blocks away, and collapsed the Nimitz freeway close to our home two weeks later in Fremont. It was a miracle that only 63 people lost their lives.

What makes you excited?
First of all, five star reviews for my books, and then book sales!

Do you have another job outside of writing?
Thankfully, no!

Who are you?
My friends call me “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” I call myself “Author.”

How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?
He was sitting on the boy’s side of the college and career department of the First Baptist Church of Tyler, Texas. I was on the girl’s side sitting next to my dorm friend who’d taken me in over semester break, since I lived in California and going to Baylor University in Texas.
I thought he was skinny but nicely dressed. He thought I was a voluptuous blonde. After getting to know each other over the phone, we dated for a week, then I went back to school and forgot all about him. A month later, we had another date for one of my school functions. I never dated anyone else after that. It was love on the second date. When we kissed, I heard bells. True story!

What are your most cherished mementoes?
A pair of porcelain Geishas that my grandmother had on her mantle; a handmade black dress belonging to my other grandmother; and my tea cup collection.

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
My wedding photo album.

What brings you sheer delight?
Using my beautiful dishes and linens to entertain.

What are you working on now?
“Murder at the Empress Hotel,” which takes place in Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island. I wanted to write a book capturing the memory of a lovely family vacation years ago. It was also destined that I write about the hotel’s famous afternoon tea. What I didn’t realize was the existence of the aboriginal First Nations element on the island, upon which I then centered the story.  A First Nations bitter fishing rights dispute turns deadly with the murder of a young attorney, which in turn, draws Jillian and Teddy into yet another intriguing adventure.

Be sure to check out Jill's website!!
 http://nancyjillthames.com




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tasty Tuesday!!

Thank you to everyone emailing me their fun recipes!
Since it's Fourth of July week, I thought I would share a fun cocktail!
It's a take on my old school favorite popsicle the BOMB POP!


Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4-6 cups ice
  • 4 ounces blue raspberry vodka
  • 3 ounces cherry vodka

Instructions
  1. To make a simple syrup, combine sugar and water and heat in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Cool completely in refrigerator.
  2. In a blender add clear vodka, lime juice, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until it reaches a "slush like" consistency, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into a container and place in the freezer. Next, in the blender add blue raspberry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until desired consistency is reached, and pour into a container and place in freezer. Then, in the blender add cherry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend until desired consistency is reached and place into a container and place in freezer.
  3. Let chill in freezer until ready to use.
  4. To "assemble" drink layers, spoon some of the blue in the bottom of a glass, then white, then red on top.


**For the non-alcoholic version: 
Replace vodka with Cranberry juice and replace blue raspberry vodka with blue gatorade and replace cherry vodka with cherry gatorade. 

Do you have a favorite cocktail drink?? 
Leave the recipe in the comment section and be eligible to be featured in my new cozy mystery featuring a bed and breakfast releasing in 2016!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Livin' Off The Grid

Okay, I'm really not, but it's been fun growing our first vegetable garden!
Six years ago I had a wake up call after a physical. My doctor called after the blood results came back and told me I had high blood pressure and bad cholesterol was bad and good cholesterol was bad...all around BAD!

I come from a long blood line of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, heart transplant, artery disease, high blood pressure, brain aneurysm ...the list really could go on and on. Yep...I'm a walking time bomb.
My doctor was hoping it could be food related and what I was consuming. So instead of going on medicine right away, I went to a nutritionist.
Interestingly enough the nutritionist asked me to write down everything I put in my mouth for a week. My kids were much younger then and I would eat all their junk left overs like gold fish, fries, nuggets, anything!
After a week the nutritionist told me I needed to learn how to eat properly and sent me to Weight Watchers! Yep..you read that right! A NUTRITIONIST SENT ME TO WEIGHT WATCHERS!
Boy did it change my life!
Not only did I love going, I did learn how to eat properly and in the process lost over 38 lbs. My blood pressure and cholesterol became normal and it was GREAT! BUT I was spending so much money on fresh vegetables!
Six years later, I still go to my Weight Watcher weekly meeting and I've been Lifetime for five years. Now back to the blog title Livin' Off The Grid...
Eddy decided he wanted to try his hand at gardening! I was so excited for his little project only because I love salads and the idea of walking out my door and picking off a cucumber sounded great!
Guess what?
IT IS!!!



























Everyday we head out to the garden and look to see what is growing and what needs to be picked. The lettuce tastes so fresh that I'm going to be really, really sad when the season is over and I don't have fresh lettuce! I'm going to have to go back to store bought lettuce! BOO!!!

Do you have a garden? Do you go to the farmer's market?
Let's talk about my idea of Livin' Off The Grid! Leave a comment to win this fun prize pack that includes a fun cup, hand sanitizers, garden gloves, and notebook!
Winner will be announced on Friday July 3rd!

Don't forget to spread the word about the upcoming release of A CHARMING FATALITY! 

In the meantime, you can continue catching up on the series with A CHARMING WISH, book 4 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series! It's on sale for ONE day only! 
IT's only on sale at Amazon (I'm so sorry), but you can always download the Kindle app on any device! Hugs and happy reading!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

FriYAY!!!

We made it!!!



I do a lot of giveaways, so on FridYAY, I'm going to be posting all the winners from all the platforms.
With each giveaway, you have ONE week to claim the prize.

Monday Giveaway: Kappes changing cups: JEN SCOTT
Tuesday Recipe: Susan P.
The share photo will continue until release day :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

My son, Austin, is in full college mode. Since my husband works out of the home and I'm home working (obviously my work travels), I'm putting the final college visit plans together. We are traveling a few places with over night stays since the lacrosse teams want to "talk" to us and show him around the campus. We are also getting ready for all the lacrosse camps he is doing this summer, starting next week!

What are you doing this weekend?
Let me know in the comments to win a Kappes mystery box!

Be sure to continue to share the photo!

Preorder today!
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Lizrya
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ByliL6
iBooks:  http://apple.co/1J1QwtO
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1IbEiAg

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cover Snob

As an author, I want my story to be GREAT, FANTASTIC and strike a relationship with the reader so the reader will come back for more.

But the obstacle is how to reach that reader! 

When I first started out there was something that I knew I had to had in order to reach you. . .the reader. . .A GREAT COVER!!

I was a new author and who really wanted to take a chance on me? But I had a great cover with a pink dog on it.


Cute right?? It still happens to be one of my favorite covers! I had gotten so many compliments on the cover, so I knew I was on to something.

After that, I spent just as much time on my covers with my cover artist as I had writing the novels.


The cover on the left is my
self published cover of
A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING before I sold it to HarperCollins.
The one on the right is from my publisher, HarperCollins.
Amazon










I LOVE both of them and thrilled I have cover control/advice with my traditional covers. The latest novel in the Magical Cures Mystery Series, A CHARMING FATALITY, is A-DORABLE!

A CHARMING FATALITY will be released on July 10th! You can preorder your copy on all platforms today.

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Lizrya
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ByliL6
iBooks:  http://apple.co/1J1QwtO
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1IbEiAg

In the meantime, you can share the below photo! Let me know where you share it in the comments below to be eligible to win! You can share more than once!!! 


Are you a cover snob? Do you judge a book by it's cover??

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Traveling the Mystery World with My Characters – by Ritter Ames

I love being an author—I love sending my own experiences into a spiral and seeing how I can use the bones of the events to challenge my main characters. Especially when it comes to pushing the bounds in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series. The paces I put Laurel and Jack through—all in the name of saving art masterpieces—is a blast to write.


This series is my “running away from home” writing. The first book, COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES, is mostly set in London, my favorite city in the world, and I use personal photos to find tricks and traps for Laurel’s world. See the skyscraper shots below? Notice the egg-shaped building on the far right? In a scene where my characters zip through London streets, trying desperately to escape the bad guys, Laurel mentions that skyline and building.

It’s called the Swiss Re building. Google using the search question “What is the London building that looks like a Faberge egg?” and you’ll find that hundreds (and maybe thousands) of people have googled the same exact question—like I did when we were there several years ago.





Just looking at pictures like these shots, taken from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral (yes, I climbed all 528 steps for a total of 365 feet—with a heavy day bag and 35mm camera), and the ideas start flowing. Look below, in the left shot of the Thames, and there’s the Millennium Bridge. The London Eye is in the shot to the right. Notice the lovely textural differences between the skyscrapers and the older buildings in all the pictures. London is so visually diverse, which is one of the reasons it makes a truly marvelous setting for a novel. Great locations like the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Gallery adds to the treasure trove.




And I don’t even have a shot of the curved glass skyscraper that could melt cars across the street (no, I’m not making it up). Nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper, the BBC did a story on it when a Jag was melted. Here’s the link: www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-23930675 .

The latest release, MARKED MASTERS, ups the stakes, and my characters travel to Florence, Italy to pursue the baddies. I spent hours watching YouTube videos of the city and Tuscan countryside. It was tough, but someone had to do it. As in COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES, the pace is fast, the twists are surprising, and Laurel & Jack keep everything spinning with their quick wits and witty dialogue. Here are some Florence shots used for inspiration. The buildings are cathedral complex views. The blue moon shot is the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio.



Book #3 in this series is coming soon. Fast pace, amazing artwork, plot twists at every turn, and sharp main characters who use snark and smart sarcasm to keep the dialogue fast and furious—that’s my Bodies of Art Mysteries. If this sounds interesting, the first book is on sale right now for 99 cents www.smarturl.it/CConspir, so both books can be downloaded for less than $5.

I’d like to take a minute here to thank the lovely Tonya Kappes for inviting me to guest post today (I’m as big of a fan of hers as you all are). Thanks so much, Tonya!

I spend way too much time on Pinterest, finding stuff to share about my books. You can wander my boards or follow me at https://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/  I love making new friends.
Something new—a group of my fellow authors and I are getting together to have a summer of giveaway fun. 

Check out the Contest Page at my website for more details and how to enter at: http://ritterames.com/contest-page-2/   We’ll have dozens of ebook giveaways, as well as a fabulous new Kindle Paperwhite in a Labor Day drawing.


Ritter Ames is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries series and the Bodies of Art Mysteries series. When she's not writing or brainstorming Ritter is usually trying to get her favorite yellow lab to stay out of the pond, or keep her grouchy black cat from trying to give the dog away on Freecycle. For more info check www.ritterames.com  Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW, Facebook Author Page at www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks or follow on Twitter @RitterAmes