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Dogs and Pets

I think you know we have a West Highland Terrier named Heinz. He’s fourteen and pretty set in his ways, but he keeps us entertained. He also keeps us moving. That dog likes a walk on the beach better than anything.

He walks taller and stays alert to everything going on around him.

April is Active Dog Month. While Heinz may nap more, when it’s time to be active, he’s ready.

He doesn’t want to waste time on getting his picture taken.

There are also other pet holidays in April. Pet care, pet first aid, Lyme disease prevention, heartworm prevention and preventing cruelty are also highlighted in April.

For my cat loving friends, April 6 is National Siamese Cat Day.

  • April 8: National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
  • April 10: National Hug Your Dog Day
  • April 11: National Pet Day
  • April 11: Celebrate Shelter Pets Day
  • April 11: Dog Therapy Appreciation Day
  • April 19: National Cat Lady Day
  • April 21: National Bulldog Day
  • April 23: National Lost Dog Day

Let’s celebrate our pets this month. Happy April!

Tybee Island Light Station

Tybee Island Light Station was the first lighthouse I visited years ago. Recently, Tim and I decided to visit it again.

We climbed 178 steps to reach the top. The steps go around and around, and thank goodness there are landings where you can catch your breath on the way up.

Before the lighthouse ran on electricity, the station was manned by three Light Keepers. These men carried fuel to the top multiple times a day to keep the light shining.

Light Keepers also had to be able to supply their own food by gardening, raising chickens, and fishing for food. There are buildings on the property where keepers lived, there was a seperate building for storing the fuel, and there was a summer kitchen.

The Tybee Lighthouse was built in 1773 and has seen many changes over the years.

If you have the opportunity to visit the Tybee Light Station, I’d love to encourage you to go. The views from the observation deck are breathtaking.

I’d love to hear if you’ve ever visited a lighthouse. Do you have a favorite?

I think Tybee will always be my favorite because it was my first. (However, I have seen some spectacular lighthouses in Maine. But that’s a story for another day.)

Dane McCaslin

Today I’m happy to introduce you to Dane McCaslin. Her new book, Cat’s Meow releases tomorrow. Dane was gracious and took time to answer some questions.

Welcome, Dane!

Where is the setting for Cat’s Meow? How did you decide to pick it?

I’ve placed this series in Portland, Oregon. After a visit there a few years ago, it seemed perfect for Gwen Franklin, my protagonist and retired teacher. It’s small enough to feel cozy but still has all the amenities of a larger city. And you can’t beat the proximity to the Columbia and Willamette rivers, as well as the gorgeous Multnomah Falls.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I entered my first poetry competition when I was nine and won. Of course, it was only our local library, I was most likely the only nine year old that had submitted to a contest meant for adults, and my mom was friends with the librarian. Aside from that one foray into rhyme, I’ve stuck with prose since.

Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author?

I was reared in a home without a television (gasp!) but it had lots of books. We all read, and I loved going to the library. That led me to believe that “I could do that!” and I gave it a whirl. Thankfully, none of those earlier attempts ever saw the light of day. I began writing in earnest one summer break (I taught high school English) and haven’t looked back. Being retired now gives me more time to plot and write more murder and mayhem.

Do you have a favorite character? If you could spend a day with this person, what would you enjoy doing?

That’s a tough call. Most likely I’d choose the indomitable Miss Jane Marple. I absolutely adore the way her mind works! Or there’s Jo March. I’d love to spend a day with that spunky gal and observe how she maneuvered between her life as a writer and as a mid-nineteenth century woman.

Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot?

Yes! As an Arizonian, I like that Coronado Island is only a short drive. The homes there are incredible – it’s so atmospheric – and the Pacific Ocean is extremely accessible, Of course, I’d probably live at Disneyland if I could, but that’s another story.

(We visited Coronado Island in 2011, and I agree. It’s fabulous.)

Is there a place you’ve always longed to visit?

I would love to visit the Acadian area that straddles the northeast Canadian and United States border. My heritage on my mother’s paternal side is Cajun, people that are descended from the New France settlers of the mid-eighteenth century. Forcibly removed from there, they and their descendants ended up in places such as Louisiana, where my extended family lived and still lives.

How did you decide on a pet valet for your sleuth?

That was easy! I am a dog lover of the highest rank and wanted my protagonist, Gwen, to be able to enjoy animals as well. When her best friend, the much-married and divorced Nora Goldstein, suggests that they begin a pet valet business, Gwen is completely skeptical. Of all things, she is allergic to pet dander and has to find a way to handle her post-retirement adventure without constantly scratching and sneezing. Besides, I wanted an excuse to include animals of all sorts in the series.

Dane, I have terrible allergies which is why we have a West Highland Terrier. They are hypoallergenic. Thanks so much for taking time to visit with us today.

Dane can be found on social media.  

Instagram @danemccaslinbooks

Twitter @mccaslin_dane

And her website is  www.danemccaslinbooks.com

If you interested in reading Cat’s Meow, follow this link. https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781516110155/cats-meow/

Nancy Drew

I discovered I’m not the only person who grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. I got hooked when visiting my grandmother’s house. I found my mother’s Nancy Drew books. She only had a couple, so after that I saved my money to buy my own copies.

Last weekend I discovered a treasure trove for Nancy Drew fans. In Savannah, I was visiting antique stores. There was a young couple I kept bumping into. We ended up at Books on Bay at the same time. She was organized and had a list of exactly what she needed. Books on Bay had every book she needed.

I also found a book to add to my collection.

I learned there were book club copies in addition to books sold at stores. If the back of a Nancy Drew book is solid yellow, it’s a book club edition.

There’s also some fun lingo. For instance, bird means man. Cheaters means sunglasses. Derrick means shoplifter. Scatter means hideout. And clubhouse means police station.

Another thing I learned while visiting Books on Bay, the picture cover illustrations were painted by artists. Russell H. Tandy was one of the artists.

Did you read mysteries when you were growing up? If you collected Nancy Drew books or other books and need to complete your collection, I’d recommend contacting Books on Bay. You can find them at http://www.booksonbay.com . Better yet, stop by for a visit at 224 W. Bay Street in Savannah. (I don’t get any kickbacks, but I found the place and owners to be charming.)

What were some of your favorite books to read as a child?

Georgiana Daniels

Have you ever kept running into the same person? In 2020 Georgiana Daniels and I kept showing up in the same groups. It didn’t take long to discover we had a lot in common. So I was delighted when she agreed to join us today. I’m even more excited to share that she has a book releasing this month.

Georgiana Daniels author of Crumbs of Passion.

Welcome, Georgiana!

Hi, Jackie! Thank you for hosting me today. I’m really excited about Crumbs of Passion, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book. Is it wrong to crack yourself up with your own work? Asking for a friend….

Great! I’m going on the assumption the sleuth is a baker, but if that’s wrong, what does your sleuth do?

KC Crumb is returning home after losing her job as a corporate social media manager for a shoe company. Of course, her Aunt Lulu ropes her into working at Crumb’s Bakery as soon as possible. If only KC could quit sampling the goods!

Where is the setting? How did you decide to pick it?

Crumbs of Passion takes place in fictional Beaver Bluff, Oregon. It’s a cozy town on the coast, and it was relatively quiet—until KC moved back and found a dead body in the garage of her new rental! It was easy to pick a coastal town because I love the water. Living in AZ, I don’t get to the ocean nearly enough.

How long have you been writing?

Writing was always something I would do “one day.” About 16 years ago when our middle daughter was born, I decided to go ahead and get serious. For some reason I thought the path would be pretty straightforward. The joke was totally on me! But, it’s been a great ride and I’ve met some of my closest friends along the way. Crumbs of Passion is my fourth published book, and the plan is to release books 2, Crumb and Punishment, and book 3, A Crummy Way to Die, later this year.

I completely understand the dream of writing “one day.” Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author?

Let me answer with a resounding YES! I have always wanted to write, but instead of doing that straight out of the gate, I spent eight years in retail management and two years as an investment advisor. (I guess you could say I have diverse interests!)

But wait, there’s more! Right now, I’m in grad school to get a master’s degree in library and information science. I work part-time as a librarian, and the goal is to get a full-time position after my youngest graduates high school.

Do you enjoy baking? What are your hobbies?

Wait…we’re supposed to have time for hobbies? Haha, just kidding…mostly.

Because I write, work part time, do graduate school, and homeschool our high-school daughters, I don’t have a lot of time left over. When I do, I mostly read. The goal is to read 100 books in a year. So far, the most I’ve read in a year is (I think) 72. Also, I adore knitting, and my newest love is playing the piano. Not that I’m good at that, mind you. I believe I have about three or four half-learned songs in my repertoire.

As for the baking, I leave that to my kids who still live at home. Our middle daughter bakes cakes that are to die for, including specialty items like baklava cheesecake. I’m totally spoiled!

Baklava cheesecake? I’m craving it now.

Do you have a favorite character? If you could spend a day with this person, what would you enjoy doing?

Naturally I want to pick KC as my favorite! She’s a little sneaky and she can wield a stiletto like nobody’s business. Like KC, exercising is not my favorite thing to do (even though it’s always on my to-do list) so we’d probably hit the ice cream shop and hang out in Beaver Bluff’s town square, catching a little sunshine.

Also, I can’t leave out our pal Verity. I know, I know—I’m totally cheating by picking two! But she’s pretty neat in her own right as a jiu-jitsu expert/librarian, plus she’s KC’s sidekick and self-appointed new best friend. In fact, I wrote a prequel short story to Crumbs of Passion and featured Verity because she’s that cool. If we spent the day together, she’d want to teach me some slick self-defense moves, but I’d probably break my neck. I’d talk her into hitting the bookshops with me!

Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot?

Ahhh, lovely question! The beach in Cancun was so relaxing and I would love another visit. Also, the beach in St. Lucia was amazing! I’m all about the surf and sand. However, the next big vacation will probably be back to Alaska to visit family. Going there never gets old!

Is there a place you’ve always longed to visit?

SO many places, and I want to see them all! Mostly I want to take a big trip to the British Isles. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to them, but I’ve never made it there. Reading eight million cozies that take place there is whetting my appetite for travel.

How did you decide on a social media manager for your sleuth?

Great question, and I’m really trying to remember how I came up with her job as a social media manager. Really, KC’s character grew so organically over time that I can’t pinpoint when I made that decision. The fun thing is, she uses her social media prowess to find the killer!

Do you have a pet? What about a pet in your book?

We do! She’s a beautiful and somewhat aloof Siamese cat named Meekö. Yes, she has an umlaut in her name—our youngest daughter insisted, for reasons known only to her. (She cracks me up! My daughter, not Meekö.)

In Crumbs, we’re introduced to a killer canine named Pooh Bear. He likes scaring people, eating pizza, and riding shotgun.

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jackie! It’s been fun hanging out together. People can also hang out with me on Facebook and Twitter. And watch for Crumbs of Passion, coming out on March 19!

It’s been so fun getting to know you better. Thanks for spending some time with us. Please share your blurb with us.

Back Cover:

What do you get when you cross a jilted ex, a dead body, and a killer canine named Pooh Bear?

When social media manager KC Crumb is fired from her bougie job in L.A., she returns home to Beaver Bluff, Oregon only to discover a dead body in her new rental. Unfortunately, the body belongs to her philandering ex-boyfriend—a man she publicly threatened before she left town 15 years ago. Now all eyes are on KC, including those of hunky officer Antonio Hamson.

With the help of her new best friend, who happens to be a jiu-jitsu expert/librarian, and a gaggle of gung-ho ladies from her aunt’s bakery, KC and Pooh Bear set out to track down the real killer. Half the town is under suspicion, including a shady car salesman and a preening personal trainer, causing the clues to mount faster than the followers on her newly single social media profiles. And when her life is mysteriously threatened, KC has to sniff out the murderer…before the handsome officer hauls her in for homicide.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorgeorgianadaniels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorgianaD

Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X6799LW

Just Another Birthday

Today’s my birthday, and this is a big one. I turn sixty today, and I’ve been feeling old. I told my husband I just wanted to ignore it and treat today like any other day. My thought was turning sixyt-one might be easier.

I’ve never really worried about turning a specific age before. I do remember turning thirty, and BOTH my mom and brother said they weren’t sure how they felt about ME turning thirty. Haha!

Last week it came to my attention Amy Grant turned sixty in November. I also learned Robin Robers and George Stephanopoulous just turned sixty too. So, I decided to do a little search for others my age.

Did you know Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, and Antonio Banderas turned sixty last year? What about women? Valerie Bertinelli, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Gray are a few to note.

Next I looked at who was born in 1961. Woody Harrelson wasn’t a surprise because I met in my freshman year at Hanover College. Meg Ryan, Toby Keith, Nadia Comaneci, Wayne Gretzky, and George Clooney.

None of these people seem old, so I’m going to take a big breath and slowly exhale. I can handle turning sixty with grace.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I’d love to hear if you ever struggled with a birthday.

Monk

While raising my sons, I didn’t have time to watch much TV. I’d heard of Monk, but until COVID forced us to social distance, I had seen very few episodes.

I first discovered Tony Shaloub when he acted on Wings, and he always made me laugh.

I watched every episode of Monk at least once in 2020, and I decided it’d be fun to share some of my favorite quotes.

“We’re going to follow the money. Mmm! Ahh! I’ve always wanted to say that.” Season 1 Mr. Monk Meets the Candidate.

“You’ve gotta be a little skeptical, Sharona. Otherwise, you end up believing in everything—UFOs, elves, income tax rebates.” Mr. Monk and the Psychic

“I’m as sure as I can be…without, any, you know, proof.” Mr. Monk and the Psychic

Sharona Fleming: “I bet you had lots of notes from your doctor.”

Adrian Monk: “As a matter of fact, I did. I had a whole separate binder.”  Mr. Monk and the Marathon Man

“I don ‘t mind change. I just don’t like to be there when it happens.” Mr. Monk and the Other Woman

There are also some great quotes he said more than once.

“It’s a gift, and a curse.”

“I could be wrong. Which I’m not.”

“Here’s what happened.”

“He’s the guy.”

“I’m half-man, half-wuss. I’m a muss.”

Do you have a favorite Monk quote? I’d love to hear. Did you binge watch a TV show during COVID?

Thanks for stopping by and spending a little time with me today. I hope you have an amazing day!

Podcaster Leah Bailey

Leah’s theme on The Cozy Ink Podcast is, “Let’s Get Cozy.” I had the honor of being on Leah’s podcast in 2020. She’s warm, friendly, and a lot of fun.

Leah began the Cozy Ink Podcast as a platform to connect cozy mystery readers cozy authors. She has introduced new books to readers, held an online conference, and read short stories.

Stephanie Graves, Carlene O’Connor, Nancy Coco, Lynn Cahoon and many more authors have been on Cozy Ink Podcast. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you don’t want to miss Leah’s podcast. Here’s the link: https://cozyink.buzzsprout.com/

Leah is active on social media, especially on Twitter. https://twitter.com/LeahBAuthor

Thanks for spending a little time with me today, and I hope you’ll give Leah and the Cozy Ink Podcast a listen.

Meet J. C. Kenney Author of A Deadly Discovery

I met J. C. Kenney at Malice Domestic in May 2019. Dawn Dowdle is our agent, and J. C. spoke at the new author breakfast. This was before COVID was a thought, and he always had a smile on his face. I’m such an introvert, his ease with others impressed me. J. C. agreed to join us today.

Welcome, J. C., thanks for joining us.

Hi, Jackie! It’s a thrill to be visiting with you today to chat about A Deadly Discovery.

Where is the setting? How did you decide to pick it? A Deadly Discovery is the fourth book in my Allie Cobb Mysteries series. It’s set in the fictional southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek. It’s based on the real town of Nashville, which was established in the mid-1800’s as an artists’ colony. For decades, it’s been a quaint community and a tourist community. I live an hour north of Nashville, Indiana and visit often. I think it’s an ideal place to serve as the model for a cozy mystery community.

How long have you been writing? I started writing regularly in 2011. For years, I’d wanted to write a book, but had never come up with an idea that kept me going beyond the first few pages. It all changed in August 2011 when an idea popped into my head and wouldn’t let go. A Deadly Discovery is the eleventh book I’ve had published. It’s been a crazy ride!

Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author? Writing has always been a big part of my day job career, even though that’s been more on the technical end. For example, for my current day job I’m in charge of my company’s policies and procedures. While that’s a quite different discipline from creative fiction writing, I think technical writing has helped me with things like clarity, grammar, and conciseness.

What are your hobbies? Reading’s my number one hobby. All my life, I’ve loved to read. I stick mostly to fiction for the escape from reality.

Do you have a favorite character? If you could spend a day with this person, what would you enjoy doing? Allie’s best friend, Sloane Winchester, is probably my favorite character. She’s such a kind soul and is so upbeat. It would be a pleasure to simply hang out with her and revel in her bubbly personality.

Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot? I love the Florida Gulf Coast. It’s easy to get there from Indianapolis, whether its by plane or car. For my money, the soft, white beaches can’t be beat.

Is there a place you’ve always longed to visit? I’m of Irish heritage so someday my wife and I hope to visit Ireland. My parents vacationed there in 1979. To this day, I remember how excited they were to take that trip.

Have you been to the Indy 500?  I’m a big fan of IndyCar and the 500, in particular. I attended my first race in 1977, the year A.J. Foyt won his fourth race. It was really cool to be a part of that. I’ve only missed one 500 in the last ten years. It’s a big deal in my household!

Do you have a pet? What about the cat in your book? I do! Maria is a Russian Blue cat who is also known as the Princess of the House. She’s a rescue and has been with us since February 2014, so almost seven years. She has me totally wrapped around her little kitty paw. I based Ursula, the Cat in the Allie Cobb Mysteries, on Maria. I’m a total cat guy, so it’s tons of fun including felines in my books.

Here are the links to buy A Deadly Discovery.
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NXZKXFB
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-deadly-discovery-j-c-kenney/1138333449?ean=9781950461929
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-deadly-discovery
Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/J_C_Kenney_A_Deadly_Discovery?id=szMKEAAAQBAJ
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1055222

A Deadly Discovery Blurb

Certain she’s seen more than enough death for one lifetime, literary agent Allie Cobb is ready to close the book on her amateur sleuthing, even when she learns that an unidentified body has been unearthed in a local state park. But when a worn and haunted-looking woman shows up on her doorstep with a grim story about her young daughter’s disappearance twenty years ago—and the police confirm that the recently discovered body is hers—Allie can’t bear to turn the poor woman away.

Determined to uncover the truth about the young woman’s murder, Allie begins delving into the circumstances of her life and those she knew so many years before. And when she meets powerful resistance from those she questions—many of whom are now trusted leaders in her small, tight-knit community—she’s sure she’s on the right track. But as she narrows down the list of suspects, Allie realizes too late that a cold-blooded killer is dead-set on keeping the secrets of the past buried, and it will take all her wit and cunning to avoid becoming the second young woman to meet an untimely end…

J. C., thanks for joining us today.

If you’d like to reach out to J. C. Kenney, you can find him in the following places.

Website: https://www.jckenney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JCKenney1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JCKenney1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j.c.kenney/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/j-c-kenney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jckenney

Martin Luther King Day

I won’t get political here during these turbulant times. Recently I shared my goal to show more compassion to others in 2021. Martin Luther King Jr. believed the only way to change society was to show compassion to others.

When I chose compassion as my word for the year, I didn’t have him in mind. After a year of tragedies, I saw people hurting and decided we could all benefit from receiving compassion from others.

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr Day 2021 will be celebrated differently.

We’re still social distancing and wearing masks where I live, but my goal for today is to find one person to show kindness and compassion to today.

What about you? How will you celebrate Martin Luther King Day?