Mom always said that a lady should never reveal her age, but I don't believe in that nonsense. I'm proud to be 60 and am not even trying to scramble up the backside of the proverbial hill. I don't wear makeup most days, have eschewed high heels, and am perfectly content with a good book for weekend entertainment.
Many thanks for all the cards and well-wishes on social media. I'm grateful to my friends, who entertained me with dinner and a movie—Where the Crawdads Sing, to my family, who wined and dined me at Frankie's, home of gigantic cake slices, and to my sweet husband, who treated me to a spa weekend in Highlands, NC. I'm so blessed.
I'm featured in the Munce Christmas Catalog!
Woo hoo! The Demons Among Us will be featured in the Sept./Oct. catalog published by the Munce Marketing Group. Christian bookstore owners will send it to their customers—about 250,000 of them. Thanks, Redemption Press, for placing the advertisement.
Redemption Press also positioned my book front and center on the promo table for the Rotary Street Fair at the Romans 8:28 Books & Gifts in Eumenclaw, WA. Many thanks to Carol Tetzlaff for championing my work that weekend.
Following are my ratings for the books I read in July. As you can see, I've been mostly engrossed in mysteries. Follow me on Goodreads to view how I've rated books since 2010.
More Than Grit, Gretchen Carlson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (See review of this YA historical novel below)
A Time for Singing, Carol James ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (A sweet romance, perfect for the last weeks of summer)
The Cruelest Month, Louise Penny ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Third in the Inspector Ganache series, it has lots of twists and turns)
Murder at Ochre Court, Alyssa Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Murder at Crossways, Alyssa Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Murder at Kingscote, Alyssa Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Murder at Wakehurst, Alyssa Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (See review of the Gilded Age series below)
MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW
More Than Grit
Winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest-Young Adult, More Than Grit is a terrific clean read for male and female middle graders. Written by one of my critique partners, Gretchen Carlson, this eye-opening work of historical fiction is set in Kansas in 1939. Twelve-year-old Sissy, scarred by a kerosene lantern accident, wants to help her family pay the $5 deposit to get electricity. She arranges a secret job with her crotchety neighbor and is on course to meet the deadline. However, one challenge after another sets her back. The ending blew me away.
ADULT MYSTERY SERIES REVIEW
The Gilded Newport Series
A few years ago, I toured several of the beautiful 19th century mansions in Newport, RI. When I stumbled upon this nine-book cozy mystery series, I settled in with lots of cups of tea and my ever-present one-eyed cat, Bella. Alyssa Maxwell did not disappoint. She created a fictional 21-year-old second cousin, Emma Cross, to the business magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt. While not wealthy herself, Emma is invited to all the society balls and gatherings. In each story, she stumbles upon a murder in a different mansion and solves it with the help of family, servants, a love interest, and her best friend—a policeman. I never guessed any of the murderers because the author had devised so many credible twists and turns. Book 10 is set to be released this month.
Few vs Less
Be aware that these two words are not interchangeable. Few can be counted or measured, but less cannot.
I've sold fewer hardbacks than paperbacks.
I feel less stress now that my mom has moved into a quality assisted living center.
Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe
A clause in our wedding vows includes my ability to make lemon icebox pie from Marvin's mother's recipe. No kidding. At first I rebelled, then realized that it's actually easy peasy. Here's the old Willis family recipe:
2 cans Eagle Brand condensed milk (don't use low-fat or it won't set properly) 1/3 cup lemon juice (from the bottle) Cool Whip Pre-made graham cracker crust.
Stir the first two ingredients together until smooth. Add in more juice if you like a more lemony flavor. Pour into the graham cracker crust and replace the crust's clear plastic lid. Store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, smooth as much of the Cool Whip as you prefer over the top and pop it back in the fridge. Serve after dinner.