Lane Buckman Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, can you believe another month has gone by? Here we are, nearing the end of summer, but it’s not so bad. As the days get shorter and nights a little cooler, sunset cocktails and beach fires give way to hot toddies and roaring fi51ERzdZKb0L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_replaces to snuggle by. Now doesn’t that make you feel better already?

Now of course, being that it is the end of the month, it’s time for my favorite type of post – Take 5. Today I have a great, fun-loving glamour gal, Lane Buckman. This delightful and busy lady has a few things on the go, but today we’ll focus on TIARA TROUBLE, the first novel in her Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series. So everyone, sit back and have some fun getting to know my friend, Lane.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
Destinee Faith Miller is the main character of my series (though the next two books are currently sitting on my computer because I haven’t pulled the trigger on them, yet.) She’s a collective of all the women I’ve loved in my life, a little silly, a lot sassy, and very smart in her way. She doesn’t run from a fight, unless it’s to make sure she’s wearing the right shoes for it.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?
When I’m working on a project, I work until it is done. I do work to an outline, but I work in every free moment I have. My last manuscript saw me up at five, to take advantage of the hour before my son went to school. Then, I have a bluetooth keyboard, and I would use my work lunch hour to compose in Google docs on my phone. After work, feeding the family, and putting the boy to bed, I would write for another couple of hours.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?
Three published books later, and two picture books published through my own imprint (Robyn Lane Books,) and I still have a terrible case of Imposter Syndrome. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like a “real” author. That said, realizing I have answers to questions, and help to offer writers who are working toward publication reminds me that I’ve accomplished something. I have loved every book signing, and am always delighted when someone enjoys my work.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
I don’t ever feel like the well of inspiration is running dry. I have the opposite problem. I have too many ideas to get them all down on paper. I do hit roadblocks when I’m writing, though. When that happens, I think ahead to a scene that I find exciting, and I write that. If I can keep going forward, I do, if not, I go back to the place where I was stuck, and I write toward that exciting scene to fill in the gaps. I have a hard time writing in a straight line!

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?
Pamela Dean (you must read her book TAM LIN,) Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and Judy Blume are the authors who have most consistently fed my love for reading. When I’m writing, I frequently find myself thinking back to one of their books trying to dissect how they did something that stuck with me. I also love Tom Robbins (SKINNY LEGS AND ALL), Rainbow Rowell (ELEANOR AND PARK), and Bill Fitzhugh (PEST CONTROL.)

Every one of those authors has the gift of transporting me to a very specific place, and time. I feel like I’m living their stories along with the characters. I honestly don’t think I am even approaching any of their levels of talent, but I’m an excited puppy at the idea of lane buckman headshotgetting to chase after them.

Thank you so much for inviting me to do your Q&A! If people would like to follow me, I blog at www.lanebuckman.com, facebook at TheOutsideLane, tweet @lanelese, and instagram/pinterest as lanelese. I’m also available at www.robynlanebooks.com and @robynlanebooks.

And thanks to you too, Lane. Dear friends, be sure to pick up TIARA TROUBLE on your Kindle, and while you’re at it, follow Lane’s other links to get to know her and her other works better.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Authors, Publishing, Readers, Cozy Mystery Series, Writers, Interviews, books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thanks be to you, Lisa!

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, I’m tooting my own horn a little (now cut that out, it’s not dirty… ;-) ) and share with you what a respected and prolific blogger/reviewer had to say about my Poppy Cove Mysteries.

Lisa A. Kelly has a wonderful blog, full of fun and guests, with a great sense of humor and liveliness. It’s always interesting and varied, featuring new authors and classic favorites. Do check it out – Lisa K’s Book Reviews if you don’t already do. (She’s a fantabulous person, too. Has a heart full of gold and not afraid to share it.)

Recently, she posted a lovely feature about my recent summer activities (the book tour through the Okanagan Regional Library), but in addition, she posted her reviews of all of my books in the series so far. Quite frankly, she had yours truly in happy tears. I so love it when people enjoy my Santa Lucians.

So without further ado, here is what she had to say about STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER.

STRANGLED BY SILKSTRANGLED BY SILK – This delightful premiere in the Poppy Cove Mystery series takes us back to the 50’s! Readers are in for fashion and excitement as they try to solve the mystery along with independent dress shop owners Daphne and Margot.

I really enjoyed this story. The author captured the feel of the 50’s while still making the story feel modern and fresh. I love the look of vintage 50’s dresses, so I was beside myself with joy imagining all of the glorious apparel worn by the ladies in this wonderful tale.
The action started fast and just got better. I was anxious to turn each and every page and hated to put the book down. STRANGLED BY SILK captured me from the beginning and didn’t let go until the thrilling end.

I see more Poppy Cove novels in the future for this awesome author! I for one can’t wait!

DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN - CopyDEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN – Author Barbara Jean Coast has penned a novel filled with intrigue, excitement, fun, drama, and fashion!

I was thrilled to go back to the 1950’s to Santa Lucia, CA and hang out with Margot Williams and Daphne Hunting-Smythe at their “in” fashion dress shop. Although, I always feel under dressed when I spend time with those ladies. ;-)

Book one of the Poppy Cove Mystery series, STRANGLED BY SILK was unforgettable. In book two, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN, there was always something happening in this “happening” story. Packed cover to cover with everything that makes a mystery great, this book took my breath away!

It’s very clear that the author did her research into the 50’s era. Everything from clothing, manner of speech, and chain smoking fathers pacing maternity ward waiting rooms, transported me to another time. And all of this lent the perfect background to an outstanding mystery of who killed the beauty queen.

Way to go Barbara Jean! I look forward to what books three and beyond have to offer.

A NATE TO REMEMBERA NATE TO REMEMBER – Hey guy and gals, if you’re looking for a dream mystery to curl up with, look no further. A NATE TO REMEMBER is a book to remember. It will take you back to simpler days when Tupperware and cocktail parties were all the rage, when sweet girls were courted by nice young men (well, mostly), and murders never happened…..well, almost never happened. ;-)

A NATE TO REMEMBER is the third book in the Poppy Cover Mystery series written by Barbara Jean Coast. I have loved this series since book one, STRANGLED BY SILK, and I discovered Margot Williams and Daphne Hunting-Smythe, the owners of the Poppy Cove dress shop and lead characters of this series.

In this installment these sweet ladies and upstanding business women are in a real fix. At least Margot is. The dead body of her ex-husband, that no one knew she had, is discovered and Margot becomes he prime suspect.

Barbara Jean Coast aka Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff have really outdone themselves this time. This story is by far the best in the series to date. It was nothing short of a brilliant mystery and a completely amazing read. I was entranced through the entire story. And when I got to the surprising reveal and found out the who and why, I literally said “Wow” out loud.

If you have read the first two Poppy Cover book, you are going to be thrilled with this one. If you haven’t read the series, do yourself a favor and get all three books in the series, and take a trip back to the 50’s you’ll never forget!

So there you have it, folks. Thanks for indulging me and letting me share what lovely things the lovely Lisa had to say. All of you are always welcome in Santa Lucia anytime.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Authors, 1950's California, Cozy Mystery Series, Nostalgia, Blogs, 50's Fashions, Book Reviews, Vintage, Bloggers, Historical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Timing is Everything

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, I’m letting Andrea and Heather take over the blog again, talking about the ebb and flow of writing and getting the words out in the form of a story.

Sometimes it’s a mad rush, sentences like waves, fingers flying on keys, great swaths of paragraphs, high thousands of words hitting the page and making sense, the tangibles that give a great sense of accomplishment.

But other times, it’s about all the background, all the thinking and plotting, the dreaming and scheming. That work can be hard to measure and can sometimes be confused with “writer’s block.”  Maybe we need to rethink what that term means, and is it really that you are stuck, or need to accept that phase as incubating or percolating ideas that will create the rounded out picture and rush of what we define as productivity.

We find the more that we let ourselves get involved in the entire process of writing, the more we understand it’s multi-faceted. We’re not even going to get into the whole marketing aspect in this post. That’s a whole other universe that is a great mystery to most – even those who think they’ve got it all sussed up find the game changes all the time.

What we’re talking about is how we work creatively and this can be applied to any kind of medium, not just writing. Everything is active, including that staring out the window, enjoying leisure time, and giving in to what we think are blocks. It’s incubation, formation, and devising new stories, angles, plots – quite often subconsciously. It has incredibly high value, if we let ourselves accept and understand it.

Go with the flow. When the words fly, let them, get them down, don’t edit, just do. When we find ourselves needing to breathe or gain inspiration, rest, we learn to do that, too. If we need distraction, understand that is meant to be as well. The higher mind will take over and line things up, getting us ready if we just stay out of the way and trust the process. Not only does it enrich life, it enriches your writing, too.

Warm Regards,

Andrea & Heather

aka that Barbara Jean

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Finding Treasure

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, Andrea and Heather are taking over theA_Nate_To_Remember blog, writing about one of their favorite things about telling my tales – research.

As our followers know, our Poppy Cove Mysteries are set in the late 50’s and will be carried on into the 60’s. The most recent release, A NATE TO REMEMBER is set in 1958, and we have started work on the fourth, set in 1959. More to come on that one, but just not yet :-). For us, writing is relating, telling the tales that are not only inspired into our imaginations through private creative means, but also talking and getting to know people and places.

Although Santa Lucia is fictional, we do loosely base it on Santa Barbara, and strive for some realism in what we create. That’s where research comes in. The historical society has been very helpful in answering our questions to help round out our world. It’s about the time we spend in the area, absorbing and taking in the details, letting the muse call.

It’s also about the people who share their stories of the place and their experiences in the time we set our stories in. We love to talk to people, hearing their stories of the times, watching as their eyes view a distant past, with a slow smile on their faces. They bring out pictures, they laugh, they sometimes cry.

The internet is a great bounty of treasure with historical events, images, and links, it brings the world to your fingertips. Books, movies, magazines, music, and other media help us create atmosphere and shape the stories we have in our heads.

Writing is a way of communicating, which means it’s not a one way street. We don’t just spew out words; we listen, talk, absorb, and then write. We share. We learn from others, friends, dear readers, and family. Then keep telling our tales, sharing them with you, and learning from you.

Thank you,

Andrea & Heather

aka that Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950's California, Creativity, Inspiration, Readers, Reading, research, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come A Little Closer…

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, as you know, my girls Andrea and Heather finished up the scheduled visits on their Poppy Cove Mystery Tour through the Okanagan Regional Library system. And boy howdy, they had such a wonderful time. They met some wonderful people, saw some beautiful countryside, and even caught up with a few old friends and made plenty of new ones. Wonderfully, many new visitors aka readers are now coming to visit Santa Lucia. The more the merrier, everyone is always welcome to get to know Daphne, Margot and the rest of the gang. They are just a click away and so happy to share their world with you. There may be a little murder and mayhem, but hey, you knew they were cozy mysteries, didn’t you?

On the tour, there were so many interesting and provocative conversations with the guests. One topic that came up many times was the discussion of graphic and explicit descriptions, and how much should be left to the imagination. As my girls listened and talked, the subject was discussed in reference to books, movies, television, and other various forms of entertainment. There was talk about leaving things to the imagination, when blood, gore, overexposure and overuse of nasty words involve the viewer or reader as an active participant in the story. Their minds become engaged deeper and further, they feel a part of the story more than if everything is splayed out, which can leave the one receiving the entertainment feeling lazy, bored, and disengaged.

Hence the “Come a Little Closer.” Think of it this way – when you are reading or watching a movie and a hand goes across a mouth and someone is pulled into the dark, you are taken in, you lean forward on the edge of your seat, you imagine the details and you ‘feel’ the story, embodied in your mind. Same goes for a romantic scene – for example, the couple kisses or embraces in a deep meaningful way, a little shoulder or glance is shown, just enough for any red-blooded adult to get the drift, and your mind wanders to your own desires, or references your own experience, it becomes about your life and your mind. You’re drawn in and want to know more, not because of what you are being told or see, but because you as a person interpret the silence between the notes for yourself.

When there is too much in your face, whether a person realizes it or not, they back away, sometimes hide their eyes, their mind shuts down, and can feel uncomfortable. They detach and in the back of their heads look for distraction, not really wanting to know or see more. There is a ‘thrill’ but it is more of a repulsion than attraction. A person will sometimes seek more, but it’s about a fight or flight response, not about engagement and embodiment. And it’s not a mistake of switching pronouns in this paragraph, it flowed out as a response to the change of personalization in the thought process during writing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in everyone telling and expressing themselves in whatever way they are drawn to do, and I do encourage people to read and watch whatever floats their boat, but I’m just sharing with you the way that I like to be – engaged and connecting with others, doing my best to have dear readers share in my little corner of the world.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

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Rita and Margaret Take 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, looky here — July’s gone in a flash. For many, I’m sure like a hot flash, but we really don’t need to discuss such things, do we? Instead, let’s do one of my favorite things – Take 5 with a fellow Cozy Cat Press chum, or in this case, two. Rita Gard Seedorf and Margaret Albi Verhoef pen the Moira Edwards Mysteries, set in World War II times. Not only is it an enjoyable read, but also very fascinating in the subject matter and style in which it was written. Settle on in and get to know these ladies and their world.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.5122NjU3SML._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

LETTERS FROM BRACKHAM WOOD is a historical mystery set during WWII in England and America that is in the form of letters written between two cousins: Moira Edwards and Margaret Edwards Walker. The two were very close until Margaret and her family immigrated to the United States, leaving Moira and her parents in England. Their correspondence begins years later in 1937 when Moira finds a long lost address and, frightened by the strange behavior of her woman employer, writes her cousin.

As the book begins he two women are very different. After the early death of her parents Moira stayed alive by finding positions as a maid-of-all work in England while Margaret had become a one of the first woman physician in the U.S. Their relationship changes during the course of the story. At the beginning Margaret encourages her cousin to take chances and try new things. By the end, she urges Moira to proceed with caution.

2. Being that there are two of you, how do you write? Do you compose separately, or talk it out as you go along together, share or divide up characters, scenes or research?

We meet often for coffee and discuss many many things but not specifically what each character is going to do. We want that to be a surprise so that our character can react to each letter after she receives it just as she would in a real correspondence. We did talk much about what was going on the world at that time. Since the story took place during WWII, there are resources aplenty.

3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”

The first two events after the book was released: one at the Eastern Washington University bookstore, which had transformed itself into a venue for a three-author book signing and our first presentation at a retirement community. But there were other moments as well. We grin like Cheshire cats every time we are asked where we found the letters. We reply proudly: “We wrote them.” In one group a woman answered angrily: “Well, I thought they were real and so did my sister and she is sitting right here beside me.”

Meetings with book groups whose members have read the book are also very affirming. The biggest ego boost is when they begin to argue about what Margaret and Moira should or shouldn’t have done. Our characters live!

However, to be perfectly honest, it is still a little hard to believe that we are authors – perhaps our next book, which will carry our characters into the post war era – will convince us.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

Because we each wrote a different character, we kept each other going. When it was not our turn to write we both did a great deal of research on what was happening in our character’s place and time. The tricky thing about writing a historical mystery is that even though it did not actually happen, the events surrounding the story need to be accurate.
When we run out of ideas the two of us pretty much do the same thing: take a walk, do something else until the words cool, or read a different book.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

Jacqueline Winspear, Dorothy L Sayers, Rhys Bowen, Charles Todd. These authors allow us to live in another era and propel us through their books with a mystery. We both like historical mysteries because they allow us to time travel and let us imagine what it would be like to live in another time and place, particularly as a woman.

Thank you so much for taking the time for our little confab, ladies. And friends, be sure to read LETTERS FROM BRACKHAM WOOD on Kindle, as well as like it on Facebook, and check out a great article in their local paper, THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in 1940's, Authors, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Creativity, Interviews, Readers, Reading, World War Two, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Day in the Life of Daphne Huntington-Smythe

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today I’d like to share with you a guest post on a blog I was honored to be a part of last month – Dru’s Book Musings. She has a terrific blog, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

Dru Ann has a fun feature she calls “A Day in the Life.” My installment was an excerpt A_Nate_To_Rememberfrom A NATE TO REMEMBER, showcasing one of my heroines, Daphne Huntington-Smythe, courting an adventure.

Location: Santa Lucia, Spring 1958

Friday morning came and Daphne had nervous expectations for her afternoon appointment with Adonis. She had decided if he suggested it, she would definitely pose nude. After all, he’s an artiste – an appreciator of the human form and without a doubt would be professional about it, and done in a tasteful manner. She would not expect anything less. However, she was not going to tell anyone, no way. She didn’t want to be talked out of it. It was daring and bold, and so unexpected from her.

Lizzie, her seventeen year old sister came bounding into her bedroom without knocking as usual. Daphne was able to wrap her pale yellow silk dressing gown around her in just enough time. “What are you doing?” Lizzie asked with a note of disapproval, flopping on Daphne’s bed.

“How many times have I asked you to knock?”

“I dunno.” Lizzie wiped her nose, tilted her head and looked at her sister sideways. “What were you doing?”

“Nothing, just getting ready for work.” Daphne made sure her robe was cinched shut. She wasn’t sure what to wear for, well, disrobing later. If she wore something with quite a few buttons or fasteners, it would take her a while to get it off, which may annoy the artist. If she wore something with lots of seams, they may mark her flesh as would a girdle and most of her foundation garments. But if she didn’t wear a girdle, then she would look sloppy. What was she to do?

“Taking you a long time to figure out what you’re going to wear today,” Lizzie observed. “Got something important happening?”

“No, nothing much,” Daphne replied lightly. She could not imagine what her younger sister would make of what she was going to do. Or who she would tell. The last people she wanted to know about it were her parents, and that’s exactly who Lizzie would blab to first. She’d jump at the chance.

“So,” her sister lolled on her bed and slyly drawled out her word, then finished her sentence, matter of factly. “Your friend Margot’s a murderer.”

Daphne whipped around and faced her sister. “That’s not true! Who told you that?”

“No one, but I keep up on things. I read the story in the paper and I keep my ear to the ground, you know?” Lizzie snapped her gum, doing her best to act wise. “She’s like those dames in Prime Crime Magazine. They’ve got a past and will do anything to keep it quiet, you know the type.” Lizzie was constantly reading dime store detective novels and salacious ‘true crime’ rags. Their mother always had a fit when she came across them, but Lizzie’s fascination was not deterred.

“No, I don’t and neither do you. Not that it’s your business, but Margot is innocent of it all. If you don’t believe me, ask James. His father’s helping her in the case.” James Worth, a long-time friend of Lizzie’s, possibly boyfriend (who could tell with her these days – punching him in the arm one day, making cow eyes the next, all the while wearing lipstick) was Henry’s youngest son.

Lizzie was skeptical, rolling her eyes, then brightening up with a new theory. “Policeman Tom did it! Oh, a crime of passion!”

Daphne glared at the girl in response. “Lizzie, stop it. You know that’s not true and I would appreciate if you’d keep your overactive imagination to yourself.”

Lizzie got off the bed. “Okay, okay, I get it.” She looked at her sister, then herself in the dressing table mirror. She re-tucked the end of her blouse back into the waist of her circle skirt and tugged at her ponytail, which was straggling out of its elastic. She calmed down while she fixed her hair and continued talking in a more pleasant manner to her sister. “But what are you doing today?”

“Going to work, why do you ask?”

Lizzie shrugged. “You seemed kinda funny when I came in.”

“I did?”

“Yep.”

“No,” Daphne demurred. “I just can’t figure out what I want to wear, that’s all.”

Lizzie had finished with her hair and stood up. “Nah, I don’t buy that.” She gave a flip with her hand. “Later, gator. I gotta fly.” Lizzie was gone with as much care and concern that she had come in with.

In the end, Daphne figured wearing the proper foundation garments were far more important than Adonis seeing the seam impressions on her body. He could always not paint them, couldn’t he? He was an artist, he’s bound to be looking for overall form rather than anything else. She did however choose a wraparound dress in pale turquoise that had a sweeping circle skirt that would be easy to remove with untying the one big sash bow on the side. It had an overall print of abstract florals that she thought he would find creatively interesting. Wouldn’t he?

Want to find out what happened? Read A NATE TO REMEMBER today!

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's California, 50's Fashions, Authors, book excerpts, books, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Creativity, Readers, Reading, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change is Gonna Come…

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, I’m happy to announce I’m working hard on book four in my Poppy Cove Mystery Series. My girls, Andrea and Heather, have been plotting and scheming away, figuring out the details and fine points on what’s going to happen to my Santa Lucia social set. Stay tuned, plenty of news to follow as time carries on. As they are writing away, they’re schmoozing and kibbitzing about the people of the town, the characters and their lives. Although cozy mysteries always contain mayhem and usually a murder or few, the stories (and pretty much every type of tale of fiction) are about people – their lives, their traits and their journeys, especially in a series. People and times do change, they do unfold and show us who they are by and by, as we get to know them further and their lives progress in reality, and they should in fiction as well. It’s natural, relatable and makes us feel all a little bit more human, ironically when we see how things do and don’t work out for our heroes and heroines in fiction.A_Nate_To_Remember A NATE TO REMEMBER, the third in my series, dealt intimately with some of my characters – a revelation of one major one, and also the reactions and perceptions of those around her, about how they thought of where they were in their lives. Now as the next story unfolds, some of the Santa Lucians who were cast in the harsh light of day can settle in, sit on the back burner a bit and simmer contently while others have the (sometimes unwanted) spotlight shine on them. All part of the ebb and flow of real and fictional life. Attitudes and time change too, rounding out action and reaction in people, as a copacetic flow, balancing act or tug of war, depending on the character and circumstance and how they view their world, real or imagined. Come to think of it, isn’t how you see your life all perception anyhow? I’ll leave you with that to contemplate over peanuts and martinis at the bar… Toodles, Barbara Jean Coast

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Creativity, Readers, Reading, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Authors Who Make House Calls

Hi there, guys and dolls! I’m letting Andrea and Heather take over the blog today, as they had a lovely week they’d like to share with you. A_Nate_To_Remember

We’ve been very busy getting the word out about the latest Poppy Cove Mystery (A NATE TO REMEMBER), including a book signing at the Chapters in Kelowna on Saturday. It was such fun to see everybody, meeting new and long time friends. We’ll do it again in September, too.

But we have to share with you what we did earlier in the week. We have a number of readers that for various reasons are housebound or just don’t get around much anymore. They are fans of paper books, not really interested in electronic copies. They like the feel of a book in their hands, the flip of the page, the look of the cover. And, they like the personal touch of an autograph. So we got on the phone, made some appointments and went on house calls. It was truly the highlight of our week.

We were invited into people’s homes, given root beer floats at one place, tea and cookies at another and wonderful hospitality by all. We shared laughs, they showed us pictures of their families and told us stories of their own – how and where they grew up, what they carry with them to this day in their lives.

It was so enriching and uplifting. There was so much joy in the connecting and taking the time to speak with people, not just readers, but the actual hearts and minds within them. We wish we could meet and spend time with every person who has touched our lives, and to always remember how important that is to all of us, not just as storytellers, but also as the works in progress all of us human beings are.

Warm Regards,

Andrea and Heather

aka that Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's California, Authors, books, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Readers, Reading, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lane Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, June’s now almost over the moon and you kn81-k9LgXf9L._SL1500_ow what that means – another installment of my favorite posts – Take 5. This month, yours truly is chatting away with Lane Stone, a lovely and savvy lady who’s got flair and sass to spare! Among her other works, she is a fellow Cozy Cat Press author, penning the Tiara Investigations Mystery Series. Her second and latest release is DOMESTIC AFFAIRS, with more to come. So settle on in, perhaps with a little cool sweet tea (make it a happy hour one if you like) and a cookie or two, and get to know my good friend Lane.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

I write the Tiara Investigations Mystery series. My detectives are former Georgia beauty queens, now “of a certain age.” They haven’t told their significant others about their agency, so they have to meet their clients at a local Cracker Barrel.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

Routine! I get cranky when I don’t write. And I have to get far enough away from home not to hear laundry calling me. You can find me most mornings at Panera’s. That’s where I am right now, actually. I guess anyone who is “self-employed,” has the same challenge. If I’m not careful, a day can pass without getting a word written, then another, then another. If I write in the morning, the rest of the day will usually go well.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

Of course, there are the biggies like getting that first contract, autographing your first book for someone other than a family member, and seeing that readers in other countries are buying your books. But there’s also a sense of satisfaction when you realize you’re making different choices.

A few years ago I heard author Jefffrey Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme series, among others) compare being an author to being somebody who wrote a book. The latter goes to the movies during the week. And finds other ways to avoid the hard work. I have to say I was proud of myself when I started spending my time differently.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

I’m an outliner. Since I write light, humorous mysteries I need to be in that frame of mind – and most days I am. If not, I work on a section that requires heavy research. Then I start googling.

I love my characters and truly enjoy spending time with them, so it’s rarely a problem.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

I adore P. G. Wodehouse and E. F. Benson for the best in comedy. If you’re not familiar with E. F. Benson’s Lucia books, you’re in for a treat. He was one of the Queen Mum’s favorite authors and that’s good enough for me. I discovered the Lucia books just after my mother died, and they got me through a very dark time. I want my books to do that for readers.

Jane Austen is another favorite. I’m what is known as a “Janeite.” I’m in the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA. I think she was a brilliant writer and observer.

I’ve enjoyed this! Thanks for having me!

Lane and her dog, Abby

Lane and her dog, Abby

Yes, it was great fun, Lane :-). And folks, be sure to read her Tiara Investigations Mysteries, (click on the title to be taken to the DOMESTIC AFFAIRS Amazon link, and click around to find out about her other books). Do check out her Lane Stone Books website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

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