Monday, August 29, 2022

Writer's Conference at Kerrville's Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library - September 24, 2022

Even though I'm on a sort of break, I wanted to share this information about an event planned for my area, Kerrville, TX, in late September.  The Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library is my local 'happy' place and it's where I volunteer and attend book groups and help out with the 'Friends of the Library'.  The patron services librarian, Rachael, has been planning this conference for many months and I'm going to be excited to attend.  Please take a look and, if you're from the Central Texas area and are available, stop by and see us!  I've met several of the authors that will be speaking and I'm hoping to get more to share guest posts here in upcoming weeks.  


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The renovations begin....plus a new Kelley Armstrong book I'll be excited to read next year...

Hello book friends!  I've been away a bit and am going to continue to be on a break for a while.  The lovely news is that our renovations have begun on our house here in Kerrville.  We've been waiting for several months and anticipating the work to be done.  Our contractor began with our guest bath and today was 'rip-out' day for my kitchen.  It is complicated to have major things done while one is still living in the house, but we've done it before.  Happily, things are moving along.  Most of the cabinets are done, ready to be set so the countertops can be measured and the guest shower has been tiled.  Progress!  All the appliances are in and sitting around in boxes.  My current fridge is in the family room.  We'll manage.  Ha!

So, as I said, I'm taking a break for a few weeks.  I did want to mention a book that I'm going to be excited about reading next spring.  I've enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series - all 7 books so far.  It was apparent in the last book that many things would be changing for Casey Duncan and her town.  The next book featuring Casey will be Murder At Haven's Rock and it will be available in late Februrary, 2023.  Here's the cover and the blurb below.  I'm so happy that Casey will continue as a character!  And I'll be around in a few weeks to update on what's going on with me and my reading.  Take care, everyone!

Murder At Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong - Available February 21, 2023

Haven’s Rock, Yukon. Population: 0

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. Haven’s Rock isn’t the first town of this kind, something detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, know first-hand. They met in the original town of Rockton. But greed and deception led the couple to financing a new refuge for those in need. This time around, they get to decide which applicants are approved for residency.

There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town's construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well-hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate those still missing. The longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Award-Winning Novels of Madness, War and Magic - A guest post by J.G. Schwartz

Today, I have a guest post by author J.G. Schwartz.  Joyce did an event recently at our local library here in Kerrville and she talked about 'Madness, War and Magic' and how she included these topics in her books.  Thanks so much, Joyce, for stopping by and tell us about your writing journey and your books.  Enjoy, everyone.  


I truly believe that everyone who loves to tell stories or write stories loves to have stories told to them.

One of my favorite childhood memories was when one of my parents would tuck me into bed and then read a story—usually one from Grimms’ Fairy Tales--Hansel and Gretel—how scary the hot oven must have looked! Snow White—how sweet was that red apple? Little Red Riding Hood—could she really not recognize that it was a wolf instead of her grandmother?? Although I listened intently to the same stories told to me hundreds of times, they always seemed exciting and new.

I soon realized how wonderful it was to sit down and write a story. For some strange reason, I am able to just sit at my desk, listen to what my characters are saying, and then place their words on a page. I have been extremely fortunate in that each of my novels has won national awards.

Writers decide just how they want to tell their story – some brave souls, often those who have experienced great trauma, leave their own story on a page by writing a memoir. 

Others write of the life they longed to have. But all writers, especially those who write fiction, tell stories from their own points of view, from their own experiences – their thoughts and imagination.

It is our story, even if it is fictionalized. Every author leaves themselves on the page – even if they don’t write a tell-all memoir.

I have always enjoyed intertwining history with fiction in my novels—plus, I usually add a murder or two.

I try very hard to write books that I would enjoy reading, filled with characters that I would like to have as next-door neighbors.

My first novel, Inventing Madness, is filled with murder and mystery. In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison is a serial killer. How else do you think he acquired two thousand patents? Although I intertwined fact with fiction in this novel, the actual deeds committed by Edison were far worse than anything I could have imagined.

My second novel, The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy, was influenced by my father. He was one of the few survivors of the Bataan Death March which occurred at the beginning of World War II. He spent four years in a Japanese Prison Camp. The novel involves Ethel Rosenberg, who attempts to draw isolationist America into the European war to stop the Jewish genocide. The novel is a harrowing tale of female resistance and camaraderie. 

My latest book, The Curious Spell of Madam Genova, begins with a fortune-teller explaining to her client that she must purchase a scarf that was used to commit a murder.

And why write about a fortune-teller?

Well, as a young girl of about 12 or 13, I went with my girlfriend and her family to a rodeo that was held at the Joe Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. I paid a fortune-teller twenty-five cents to tell my future. She was amazingly accurate, and since that time I have been fascinated with fortune-tellers and the magic that surrounds them…even as a pathologist, I know I should base my beliefs solely on scientific research.

So, whether you read a novel or listen to your characters and write their stories, I hope both will bring you joy.


Joyce G. Schwartz, M.D., is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where she received a Master of Arts degree with high honors. She then attended The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she obtained her Medical Degree. She currently works as a pathologist in San Antonio, Texas.

Monday, August 1, 2022

A little visitor and a couple of more books read...


Hi there book friends!  Can you believe that today is the first day of August?  I can't.  And yet, since I'm kind of ready for fall, it's OK.  Hope you like my picture above of a sweet little visitor we had right below our back porch area.  I took this shot a couple of months back and had forgotten that I was going to share it here.  I suspect this little one was only a few hours old.  Very tiny.  We have a bunch of deer that wander around our area and the fawns in the group have grown much bigger since spring.  Don't worry.  The 'mama' deer was very nearby, though the does will sometimes tuck their fawns in a sheltered spot and leave them for a bit to forage.  They always come back for them.  

I've still been reading up a storm and have a couple of books to share thoughts with you.  The first is The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.  I did like this book so much!  It was just the right book for me to read after several thrillers.  I love anything about Jane Austen.  The Jane Austen Book Club is one of my favorite movies.  This book is about a group of people who come together in the English village of Chawton to try to preserve Jane Austen's final home and some of her possessions as a gift to society in general.  The time period is the late WWII period, though the war itself plays very little part in the story.  There's a doctor, a teacher, a farmer, an actress, a housemaid, and others who form the Society.  Each of them has a story and we get to know them gradually.  Their struggles are eased by their personal journeys reading Austen books and I like the way the themes of the novels and characters are used to support and tell this tale.  

I'll be discussing this book with our 'Historical Fiction' Book Group on Thursday and I'm excited to hear what others thoughts about it.  This is Natalie Jenner's first book, but she has a second that was published in late spring, The Bloomsbury Girls.  Set in the 1950's, the new book tells of a bookstore and three women who work there.  There is a character from The Jane Austen Society who is part of the book, but I won't tell who.  Have you read either of these books?  Do tell!

The second book I read recently was The New Neighbor by Karen Cleveland and it was another thriller.  I think I've read all of this author's books.  They usually include people who work for either the CIA or the FBI, sometimes both.  I've enjoyed all of them and that was the same here.  As a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, Karen Cleveland brings a sense of authenticity to her books that I like.  This story was set in a neighborhood cul-de-sac and tells of Beth Bradford, a CIA analyst, who has been hunting for a spy for over 15 years.  However her life is going to change - rapidly.  Her children are now grown and gone and she and her husband are selling their house on the 'perfect' street.  She goes to work and finds big changes to her job - she's being taken off her primary case.  What has caused this action and how might it be connected to her own neighborhood?  Well, you'll have to read The New Neighbor to see.  This was a quick read for me.  

I'm now reading Tess Gerritsen's new Rizzoli and Isles book, Listen To Me.  Good so far.


Come back tomorrow when I'll have a guest post by J. G. Schwartz, an author from San Antonio who had an event at our local library a couple of weeks ago.  She had an interesting presentation and I look forward to reading her books.