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Archive for January, 2019

debra headshot (1)Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Find out more about Debra at www.DebraHGoldstein.com .

Find out more about the book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Many-Sarah-Blair-Mystery/dp/1496719476

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-taste-too-many-debra-h-goldstein/1128297322

Books-a-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Taste-Too-Many/Debra-H-Goldstein/9781496719478

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781496719478

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/One-Taste-Too-Many/309566204

Hudson Booksellers: https://www.hudsonbooksellers.com/book/9781496719478

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, One Taste Too Many. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A:  For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired town she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant.
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

one taste too manyI was inspired to write One Taste Too Many after my first two books were orphaned. I love cozy mysteries and knew that was what I wanted to write, but my skills for the world of cozies in terms of crafts or cooking were limited. The idea for the Sarah Blair cozy series came to me after my family, including our twins, had an excellent dinner at my sister’s house. I went home realizing how much fun it would be combining what I knew from raising twins with the skills of my sister, who shadowed my mother and became a good cook, versus a character who has a fear of the kitchen like the one I developed while lying on the couch watching Perry Mason.

Q: What do you think makes a good cozy? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A:  A good cozy should try to stick to the rules of having the violence off the page, being set in a limited physical space, and having the sleuth be an amateur. That said, the most important thing is to write an engaging story. If you do that, can you stretch the rules. For example, most cozies showcase a craft or culinary skill, but in the Sarah Blair series, Sarah is a cook of convenience so rather than recipes made from scratch hers are either amusing, like Jell-O in a Can, or rely on premade ingredients (Spinach Pie made with Stouffer’s spinach souffle).

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I am, by nature, a pantser. I prefer starting with a general idea of where I think the story should go, but then letting the voices of the characters guide me. In One Taste Too Many, I tried to push the plotting side and had to throw out half of the first draft because it was stilted. The story only worked when I listened to the characters and made another character the murderer. Because my editor prefers detailed synopses, the sequel to One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, was better outlined before I began writing.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Sarah is human. She married at eighteen and when her husband divorced her, she found herself without funds or a home. At twenty-eight, she is starting over and it isn’t easy. She’s worried about money and nervous about whether she is performing well enough not to be fired from her law firm receptionist job. Her homelife is an efficiency apartment shared with RahRah, her Siamese cat. I didn’t do formal character interviews or sketches prior to writing One Taste Too Many, but I spent time listening to stories of divorced friends and family members and observing the changes in their lifestyles and personalities.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: Every character has traits of being a hero or a villain. My goal is to make all characters realistic and to give each sufficient motive and opportunity that any one could be the murderer. As the story evolves, it is important to me that the interaction between the characters is realistic. To accomplish this, I give them backstories, odd physical or mental quirks, opinions, clothing that only suits them, and the ability to change or react to the situation I place them in.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: To keep the narrative exciting, I try to intersperse more action and dialogue than expository language. At the same time, I deliberately intersperse quiet times to give the reader a moment to catch his/her breath or to have an idea sink in. The most important thing is to rely more on showing than telling.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I tend to emphasize dialogue, characters, and plot, but I always use setting as a minor character. Because One Taste Too Many is set in fictional Wheaton, Alabama, I made sure the reader could picture the town square, the grid like nature of the streets, the relatively small area the town occupies, and the way the houses were grand on Main Street, but smaller in other residential areas. I throw in details like buildings made of Alabama marble or the multi-laned highways that bring the urban city of Birmingham into the character’s lives in less than a fifteen drive. Contrasting simple descriptive words and scenes against more complicated characterization and action, works to bring the setting to life.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: Having been a lawyer and judge, I tend to relate to social issues. In some of my writings, I know that certain things in a character’s behavior generate the basis for a theme I want developed from the start in that particular work. But generally, I discover the themes as I write. My goal is to tease them out to a point that the reader thinks about the issues without me ever hitting anyone over the head with the point I want to . In One Taste Too Many, several themes, especially one tied to economic development, came out of the way the story unfolded.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: I’m a big believer in revision. I realized early on that every word I write is perfect when I write it. For some reason, the level of perfection often slips when I come back with a more critical eye or I have written a character differently than I originally intended. I find that revising and polishing improves my work, but I must find a point where the revisions stop.

My process is to write, begin the next writing session by editing what I wrote, but then keep going. At a mid-point in the manuscript, I reread and edit again from the beginning, but I always keep in the back of my head that I must move on. I can’t let myself focus only on what I wrote. When I finish the first draft, I revise again with a critical eye first for story or developmental problems and then for word choice issues. The book next goes to my beta readers or an editor and I do one more revision after that based upon their comments. Hopefully, the book is then ready for submission.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: 1) Willingness to constantly learn; 2) Imagination; 3) Willingness to laugh especially when you screw up — and you will.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: The comparison to homework is an excellent analogy because once one starts writing or is under contract, the product must be delivered. The only way that can be achieved is to attend to the assigned task on a regular basis. Of course, homework never stops, but a writer can take a break or even stop if writing stops being fun. Ah, that’s another difference, writing should be fun even at its most annoying while homework often is simply annoying.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: In general, I think every writer should read Stephen King’s On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft. As a mystery writer, I particularly liked Hallie Ephron’s Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel and Chris Roerden’s Don’t Murder Your Mystery (rewritten for general writers as Don’t Sabotage Your Submission). Some of the best classes I have taken have been offered by the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime – they are online, reasonable, and always excellent.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: People say you need to write daily, but that isn’t true. Many of us write in start and stop spurts, but what is important is having a goal and following through. A story or a book will never be written simply by talking about it.

 

 

 

 

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Inside the Book:

Title: The Holy Spirit Will Deliver You
Author: Patricia L. Loranger
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Religious
Format: Ebook
Does it seem you just cannot win the battle over the devil? Are you battling the temptation to sin or hiding secret sins from your church and family? Do you find it difficult to participate in church groups or struggle to pray and read the Bible?
When we think of deliverance, we think of salvation, but this is only the first step. Deliverance is receiving freedom, and many Christians need freedom from their loaded baggage of sin. We say the sinner’s prayer and we think that’s it—we’ve got our deliverance. But this is just the beginning. Some Christians struggle their whole lives with temptation; they need deliverance, and there are so few deliverance ministries out there. The Holy Spirit Will Deliver You offers hope and guidance toward relief and redemption. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, author Patricia L. Loranger undertook two lengthily spiritual deliverances, in which she cast a large number of evil spirits out of herself. She knows that through the aid of God’s Spirit that dwells within, all believers can set themselves free from the chains that bind them.
Based on one woman’s personal experiences and grounded in scripture, this guide provides Christians seeking deliverance with answers and steps to take toward their ultimate freedom.



Purchase Here

MY REVIEW:

This was an interesting book. I don’t identify with any specific religion but try to read as many religious books as I can so I can glean out items that will work for my lifestyle. Even though this book is extremely Christian based I was able to find some things that were useful. But, let me say that if you don’t have an open mind and aren’t Christian this is not a book for you. It focuses heavily on the beliefs of good and evil and how to make your way towards good if you are on the wrong path.

 

Meet the Author:

Patricia L. Loranger is also the author of Child of Woe, Child of Sorrow. She currently lives in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

 

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