Honoring my father

It is hard to imagine that one week ago today, we buried Dad. He’s not far from the chapel, which seems very appropriate for a preacher, don’t you think?

I do not know what possessed me to tell my mother that I wanted to do his eulogy. As I mentioned that day, I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of person, not stand in front of over four hundred people (that’s how many were there; even the balcony was full) and tell them about a man who meant so much to so many people. I remember saying a small prayer to Dad as I fed the birds that morning: “Okay, Dad, if you do just one thing for me today, please make sure I’m not a blubbering idiot as I’m giving your eulogy. Okay? Thank you.” I was not a blubbering idiot. People told me it was a beautiful eulogy; one of the ministers who helped with the service told me that she heard Dad’s voice when I spoke, and then she saw him in some of the gestures I did. I’ve always told Dad that I was not a people person, but at one point during the two hour visitation before the service, I looked up at the ceiling and said, “Okay, Dad, I get it. I’m a people person. You were right, I was wrong.” I’m sure he got quite a laugh out of that.

Here is what I said that day, minus some ad libbing I did. They are just words, but they tell a small part of the life of a man I loved very much, miss tremendously, but I know that I’ll see him again. I love you, Dad.

I’m not a preacher; I’m a writer. I’m not used to standing up in front of a lot of people and talking. I prefer to be behind the scenes, so please bear with me, and forgive me when I falter.

I was sitting in Dad’s office around 11:30 pm on Thursday night, and I was trying to think of what to say today. What can you say about a man who meant so much to so many people? From the people at Panera’s, the place he called his “office”, mainly because so many people came to him to talk there. To the wonderful man who led them on their tours of the Holy Land for almost twenty years, was like a brother to Dad, and who was so upset to hear about his passing that for the first time, he had to have someone else lead his tour group? To the young people he listened and gave advice to? To his angel, his soul mate, the love of his life? To his daughter and his grandson? To the people who have called us, come by the house, or seen us in public? So many of you have come to me and told me what a wonderful man Dad was, how he touched all of your lives in one way or another, and how you all loved him like a brother. What can I say that will make you feel better? What can I say about the man who loved me, who cared for me, who gave me more than a few swift kicks in the behind, who supported me as I started my writing career? The man who was there for my only son when he needed someone to listen to him that wasn’t his parents? How do you put all that into words that will make people smile and laugh? I hope what I have come up with will do this for all of you here today.

Keep this in mind as we go: Mark 4: 30 – 32: Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all the garden plants, with such branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

My father grew up in the oil fields of southeastern New Mexico, in a small town called Eunice. My grandfather, Lee Roy Massey, was not a man who went to church, but in the glove box of his old Chevy truck, he carried a Bible. And when he would spend a lot of time, sitting in his truck, watching the rigs, he would pull out his Bible and read it. Dad saw him do this many, many times.

A tiny seed is put into the ground.

It was a Baptist minister who first got Dad to go to church. Shocking, I know, but it’s true. This minister happened to be Dad’s high school choir director, and he was the one who first got Dad to sing in a church. You’ve all heard him sing at one time or another, so just imagine what it was like to hear that fifteen-year-old voice singing a hymn. The little seed grew just a tiny bit then, but at the time, he probably didn’t quite realize what God was doing with his life.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that he was a chaplain’s assistant in the Army during the Vietnam War. He used that wonderful voice during services; I can only imagine what the men who served with him thought when he sang the hymns they had learned in church back in the States. I would like to think that it gave them some comfort during those terrible times. I read a letter once, from his commanding officer, thanking him for what he did during the services, and he specifically mentioned his singing and how Dad shared his faith.

The seed grew a little more.

After a while, Dad became a lay pastor for two small churches in Oklahoma: Pryor and Adair. He also had two adorable, cute, sweet, angelic daughters: my sister, Melody, his blonde headed, blue eyed youngest angel, who loved to dress up and wear anything with lace and frills; and the red haired, hazel eyed one, who would eventually refuse to wear any type of dresses with lace or frills, and despite all attempts, could get said frilly and lacy dresses dirty and/or torn to shreds in a record eight minutes flat, especially before church. If you don’t believe, ask Mom. It took me forever to get her to realize I preferred slacks and tennis shoes to dresses and heels! I tell you what, the things we have to go through to train our parents!

Now, over at a Methodist church in Monett, Missouri, there was a young youth director. She was worried that she would never find her soul mate, and said a small prayer to God, asking Him to give her guidance. Little did she know that this prayer would soon be answered. She went to a youth director conference in Oklahoma City. She pulls up to this lot, but has no idea where to park (despite the fact that there is a long row of cars off to one side). So she stops her little yellow Mustang beside a young man, and asks him where they are supposed to park. He gives her a “are you kidding me?” look and points to where all the cars are. “Over there.”

Well, they break into small groups, and guess who is in her group? Yep, the guy who gave her that look. Oh boy. Well, after a while, she decided he was kind of cute. So they began to talk. When the conference ended a few days later, guess who followed her back to Monett? Yep, that guy. Now, for years I was told that they were engaged after one week, although there have been protests filed in recent years to the contrary. Regardless, they met in May 1975, got married at the Methodist Church in Monett three months later in August. Now, let me say right here that Dad was born in Hobbs, NM, raised twenty miles down the road in Eunice. My mother was born in Roswell, NM, and raised about an hour away in Artesia. There was only about an hour and a half to two hours between these two towns. But they had to go to Oklahoma City to meet. Go figure!

They spent their honeymoon moving to Dimmitt, Texas. Ah, married life…right next to the FFA lot, where the future farmers were raising all their animals. Lovely smell to wake up to every morning. Dad served as the music director there, but there was another church that called out to them, and they ended up in Mother’s hometown of Artesia.

Here is where that seed took a firm hold of the ground, and began to grow. The minister at that church, Bill Hutchinson, began to talk to Dad. And the more they talked, the more that seed started to sprout. That is when Dad decided to go to Perkins School of Theology to get his Master’s degree. He had decided to become a minister.

He did his student preaching at two small churches just south of Dallas: Bristol and Palmer, which is about eight miles from where I live right now. It was here that Mom & Dad got the idea that it would be great to have a live Nativity. Now, Palmer has farmers, which means plenty of access to live animals. But believe it or not, that is not where one of our favorite family stories came from. Mother decided that my sister and I were going to be angels. Quite frankly, I wanted to be a shepherd. Guess who won that argument? Yeah, not me. The angels appeared to the shepherds, we gave them the message about the birth of Jesus in a small manger in Bethlehem, and we slowly started to back away into the darkness. Unfortunately, one of the angels found that one little bump in the grass, and tumbled backwards. All you saw were pink jeans kicking in the air as she fell. Sorry, Mel, it was too good of a story not to tell.

So Dad has this Master’s degree, and we’re waiting for our first appointment, and where do we end up? Jal, NM, which is twenty miles south from this other little town…Eunice. Two years later, we moved forty miles up the road to Hobbs. Dad once said, “If this keeps up, we’re going another forty miles up the road to Tatum!”

But the good thing about being in these two towns was the fact that Dad understood what they were going through, especially as the oil field boom came and went, because he had grown up around there. Wherever he went, he brought his smile, his laugh, and his faith. Now you all know that Dad was a talker. After church, we would go to lunch, we’d order our food, and he would see someone he just had to talk to. By the time he came back to our table, we had eaten our food and were ready to leave. The point is, he was sharing his love of God, and his seed was growing into a strong tree.

There was one area of his life where Dad was greatly outnumbered: at home. He was surrounded by females. Wife, two daughters, a mother-in-law…even the DOG was female. When I found out I was pregnant, I got one of those “I just know” revelations. I knew I was going to have a boy, and I told Dad that. His reply? “Do you mind if we wait for medical science to verify this?” The day I had my ultrasound, I called them. “How does James Charles sound?” “Yes, HALLELUJAH! I am no longer the only man in the family!!!!”

In 1999, Mom & Dad took their first trip to the Holy Land. It made them want to go back again, so they did, several times. In 2010, they took James with them. They both told me that it made them look at things in a different way, because they were seeing it through his eyes. Dad baptized James on Christmas Day 1994, and he baptized him again in the River Jordan during that trip.

I have to tell this story: I got married to my wonderful husband, Buddy, in December 2002. We got married in that little Methodist Church in Palmer. After the ceremony, we are standing there at the altar, waiting for Dad to sign our marriage license. He looked up and said, “What happens if I don’t sign this?” I said, “Then you’re stuck with me.” Let me tell you, folks, I have NEVER seen him write his name so fast in my life. I’m not even sure you can actually read his signature on the license.

By now, that little seed that was planted in a small town in New Mexico all those years ago has grown into this enormous tree, one that has branches that reach from coast to coast, and all the way to the Holy Land through a special relationship with a wonderful man named Munzer, who was their tour guide for their trips. Dad loved him like a brother, and Munzer felt the same way about Dad.

For over seventy years, this man has brought us joy and laughter; he has prayed with thousands of people; he has preached to tens of thousands. What started out as a sharing of his faith through song became the sharing of his love of God through his words. He married his soulmate, the woman he called his angel. He raised two beautiful daughters, who have grown into two strong women who share their faith in their own special ways, and he was a wonderful Papa to his only grandson, who has a strong singing voice, like his grandfather, as well as Dad’s gift of talking to people. Would it surprise you to know that Dad and James were both born on Sunday? “Sunday’s child is full of grace”, and the two of them shared their faith in the exact same way.

I will admit, though, that I have frustrated Dad because I don’t go to church as often as he wanted me to. It’s not because of a lack of faith. My faith is very strong, and I will tell you why. We all talk about the power of prayer, and we all wonder if God ever hears our prayers. Yes, he does, and I know this because He answered mine twice: one was a selfish one, I suppose. We were on vacation in Ruidoso, NM, and Dad said on the last day, if it wasn’t raining when we got up the next morning, we’d go play some putt-putt golf. I was about fifteen then. We got up, it was raining. As we drove to McDonald’s, I silently prayed: Please, God, just let it stop raining long enough for us to go play. By the time we finished eating, it had stopped raining. Off we went. By the time we hit the 18th hole, it had started raining again, but that was the best round of putt putt we ever played, because Dad, Mom, Melody and I had so much fun together.

The second time was when James was sixteen. He had just started his sophomore year of high school, and he had come home from youth group sick. By ten pm, we had him in the emergency room. By three am, he had been admitted to the hospital. By noon, they decided they were going to take out his appendix that afternoon. Buddy came to stay with James while I drove home to get a few things. As I drove back to the hospital, I prayed: God, please be with James, give him peace, let him know he doesn’t have to be afraid. Let him know that You are with him. Later that night, James told me, “As they were getting me ready for surgery, I saw a man in a long white robe standing in the operating room with me, and it made me feel better, and I wasn’t scared because I knew I was going to be alright.” Now, you tell me that God doesn’t answer prayers. My faith is good and strong, because I had a good foundation to build it on.

Dad is gone, but that little seed that grew into a tree is still here. The branches are reaching out over all of us, beckoning to us: “Come over here, lean against me for a while, rest, and pray. Tell me your troubles, tell me your triumphs, tell me about your faith.” Little seeds from that tree have been planted in each and every one of us, and it’s up to us to keep those seeds growing.

I think it is only appropriate that I close this with Dad’s own words. This comes from the Christmas message he delivered in the contemporary service on Christmas Day in 2011. When you’re ready to watch it, you’ll find it on YouTube, believe it or not. I sat in Dad’s office early Friday morning, and listened to it over and over. This part applies to all of us, and please remember this when you leave here today: “And when you come to the manger, and it comes to the time, the hard time, when you look and a loved one has been called home, God’s gift to you this day is to learn to love in a new way. The reason you have to wait for this time is because you can’t love this person in this way while they are sitting next to you. When this person dies and goes to heaven, God says ‘Now you’ll see the fullness of the love that grows inside of you that I couldn’t give you before.’”

As Dad would say, “And the people said Amen…”

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The Real Grandma Alma

People often ask me if the characters in my stories are based on real people. I can honestly say yes. As the daughter of a Methodist minister, we moved frequently, and every church we served had their own cast of characters.

The characters in Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? are very personal to me. The owners of the coffeehouse, Jim and Charlotte Shaw, are based on my parents, Jim and Charlotte. Mike, the chief of police, is an old friend of mine who is a deputy sheriff in Arizona. And Grandma Alma is my grandmother, Edna (her middle name really is Alma, although she has two middle names, truth be told).

Grandma & Mom

Grandma & Mom

She was born in a small town in Texas, not too far from where I live, the second of four children (two boys, two girls). In every picture I’ve ever seen of her, she always has this cheeky grin, and a mischievous spark in her eyes. Wonder how much trouble she got into as a kid?

During World War II, she was out with some friends when she caught the eye of a handsome young Army soldier named Charlie. He was tall and lanky, and he had a gentle smile. Stationed at a base near her hometown, he came to town when he could, and they spent time together. According to Grandma, he proposed to her in a letter: “Why don’t we get married?” She said yes.

They moved to Roswell, where their only child, a cute little raven-haired beauty named Charlotte, was born. Shortly after her birth, they moved to Artesia. Now, don’t ask me why, but they painted their house pink. I’m talking Pepto Bismol pink. The shutters were black. There was an enormous tree in the small front yard that provided plenty of shade for those hot New Mexico summers.

Shortly before their twentieth wedding anniversary, Charlie suddenly passed away from a heart attack, leaving Grandma a widow at forty-four. I once asked Mother why Grandma never got married again, and she said, “Because she already married the love of her life.”

She came into our lives in the summer of 1975, when her only child married this devilishly handsome young man with two adorable, sweet, angelic daughters. We instantly had great-aunts, great-uncles, and more cousins than you could shake a stick at. Outside of church, I don’t remember seeing so many people in one house at the same time!

My sister and I spent summers at Grandma’s little pink house, where we soon fell into a routine. “The Price is Right” at ten, and when that was over, we would listen to Paul Harvey on the radio while we fixed lunch. We made lots of mud pies under that shade tree, and I broke my first bone during one of those summers (hey, this is me we’re talking about here; you had to know a broken bone would be involved somewhere!). My favorite memories are when she would make a pie, because she would take the leftover crust, cut them into long strips, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top, and bake them. Those were our afternoon treats.

When Dad would grill, he would ask her how she wanted hers cooked. “Burn it!” she’d say. I’m pretty sure that on more than one occasion, he might have offered to give her a piece of charcoal, because it was pretty much the same thing. A Thanksgiving meal was never complete without her homemade stuffing. She also firmly believed in “dessert first”, and if you got in the way of her dessert, or tried to take it away from her, you ended up being stabbed on the back of your hand with a fork. You took your life in your own hands when you messed with her dessert!

With the birth of my son, James, we had four generations in one family. I have a picture of Grandma, Mother, James and I standing together on the front porch. It’s a picture we all treasure.

When Dad retired, they moved to Missouri, far away from Artesia, where Grandma still lived. But it was evident that she couldn’t stay by herself anymore, so they moved her to Ozark Methodist Manor, not far from where they live right now. Trips to visit them included a couple of trips to the Manor to see Grandma. She was always smiling and laughing. As James noted yesterday, he never remembers a time when she didn’t have a huge smile on her face. Of course, the staff fell in love with her immediately. “She’s so sweet!” We all wondered if they were talking about the same woman we knew (because sometimes she could get really cranky).

When my parents went to the Holy Land, I drove to Missouri to stay at their house, just in case something happened to Grandma. One time, I loaded up some photo albums, and took them to the Manor. Grandma and I spent a couple of hours going through the pictures, and she would tell me stories about the people she knew growing up. It was a visit that I thoroughly enjoyed, and a memory that I greatly cherish.

This past Thanksgiving, we drove to the Manor to have lunch with her. I hadn’t seen her in a year, and she looked tired. The spark that I was used to seeing wasn’t really there, and her smile seemed a bit sad. I spent most of that lunch helping her eat, and watching her eat my fruit salad (as well as her own!). She didn’t eat much, but she did make sure to save room for that pie.

I never told Mother this, but I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that Grandma wasn’t going to be with us much longer. I had planned to be there at Christmas; I wanted to be there because I just knew. But I came down with a horrible cold that turned into the flu, and I didn’t make it. The plan was for me to come up next month for a belated Christmas. I couldn’t wait to see Grandma.

She had other plans, however. Her Charlie was waiting for her; her parents, her brothers and sister. On Wednesday, she had a mini-stroke, but the doctor thought she was doing better by that afternoon. My husband woke me up before six a.m. on Thursday. “Your dad needs you to call,” he said. “It’s your grandmother.”

The nurses at the Manor moved her to a private room, and for the next few hours, most of the staff came to the room to sit with my parents as Grandma slowly slipped away. The beautician who did her hair came; the wonderful lady who was always in the dining room when Mother took Grandma down for a muffin and coffee came in and asked if there was anything they needed. She sent them a couple of breakfast trays. They all came in to say goodbye to this woman who had touched their lives with her smile and her laugh.

I had just gotten off the phone with my great-aunt when I called Dad. Grandma passed away just a few seconds before I called, peaceful and calm. Later that morning, when I talked to Mother, we decided that the first thing Grandma did when she got to Heaven was either gripe about something, or she asked for a piece of pie and a glass of chocolate milk.

I won’t really say goodbye to her. She’ll live through Grandma Alma, having lots of fun and getting into all kinds of trouble. The spark in her eyes and her laughter will be there in my stories. But the special memories, and the love, will live in my heart forever.

This isn’t goodbye. This is “I’ll see ya later. Save a piece of pie for me.”

I love you.

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A Sneak Peak at VERUM by Courtney Cole

“There’s savagery here, there’s grace.
But above all, there’s oblivion and no matter what I do, I will be sucked into it.” 

VERUM, the sequel to Courtney Cole’s spellbindingly dark, heartwrenchind new adult psychological suspense, NOCTE, is coming February 2, 2015.

Are you ready?

VERUM-CourtneyCole-500pxMy name is Calla Price and I’m drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I’m being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don’t know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I’m entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It’s just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.

Preorder your copy now, and get it the second it’s live:
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Book Review Thursday: Macdeath by Cindy Brown

This is my first review of 2015! How many books have you read so far already this year? If you need another, I highly recommend you pick up Macdeath on Amazon today!

MACDEATH front under 2mbIvy Meadows is an aspiring actress in Phoenix, although at the moment, she’s trying to keep from completely falling apart (thanks to the heat, a broken car air conditioner, a broken shoe heel, which forces her to wear a leopard spotted leotard) before her audition for Macbeth. She stumbles and tumbles her way through the audition, and wins a coveted spot in the production.

However, the director’s vision of the play and what the Bard intended are two different things. And while the play resembles a circus on the stage, the real show is behind the scenes. Many of the cast and crew have worked together before, and not all the memories are fond ones. One of the actors, Simon Black, asks Ivy help him stay sober during their time together. She doesn’t believe she’s the right one for the job, but agrees to help him.

Everything goes well during the three weeks of rehearsals, but on opening night, someone says “Macbeth” backstage before the show. Everyone knows you don’t say that name because of the curse. But everything goes well, and Ivy even gets a heart-stopping, room-spinning kiss from Jason, the lead actor playing the King. When she goes to see Simon before leaving for the night, she finds him dead in his dressing room. It appears that poor Simon fell off the wagon and drank himself to death. The curse lives!

With the help of Uncle Bob, a private investigator, and Detective Pinkstaff, Ivy has to figure out the complicated relationships between Simon, the cast and crew to find a murderer. But can she do it without falling victim to the Macbeth curse?

As a theater lover (and former actress, gofer, assistant director and director), I fell in love with this book right away. I love Ivy; she’s a klutzy gal after my own heart. The story is well-written, the descriptions are so detailed that I swear at times I could smell the greasepaint, and Ms. Brown kept me guessing until the very end. For those readers that are unfamiliar with what goes on backstage at a show, this will them an unobstructed view of how hard everyone works to make it a success. I had a love/hate relationship with several characters, and I was rooting for one particular character to hook up with Ivy (I’m still hoping!). There wasn’t anything about this book that I didn’t like (I loved it all!), and I am waiting with baited breath for The Sound of Murder, coming out this fall. I would definitely recommend this wonderful book to anyone who has ever spent time in theater or drama classes. This is one book I will be re-reading in the near future!

 

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Promote an Author Tuesday: Cindy Brown

Happy 2015 everyone! Today, I’d like to introduce you to Cindy Brown! Head back on Thursday to read my review of MacDeath. Also, I want to hear what you think of the Promote an Author Tuesday posts! Do you want to see more of them? Do you want to see something else? Tweet me @authorteresaw, head over to my author page on Facebook, or leave a note in the comments section. Your feedback is important to me!

MacDeath

MACDEATH front under 2mbLike every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written? (Someone used “Harry Potter” as an example)

Charlotte’s Web – such humanity, humor, and heart in a seemingly simple story about friendship. “Some Pig,” indeed.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?

I was fascinated by stories of people surviving in the wild (and by Euell Gibbons, eating his way through a pine tree) and so was always building shelters, eating plants like horsetails, and making pots out of the clay I found on the creek bank. I even “ran away” once, not because I was upset, but because I’d read a story about a boy who lived in a hollow tree and I wanted to try it. I came home as soon as it got dark.

What’s on your bucket list?

I’d like to go to Cornwall, where my husband and I would visit Port Isaac, the village where they film Doc Martin (we are big geeky fans), explore the very cool and mysterious Lost Gardens of Heligan, and take in a show at the Minack Theatre, a beautiful open-air theatre that overlooks the sea. Barring that, I’d like to ride on a one-horse open sleigh (really).

Where would your main character go on vacation?

New York City, of course! Ivy would go to as many shows as she could afford, wait by stage doors for autographs, and time her trip so she could see free Shakespeare in Central Park.

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?

Cheese. I love cheese (and maybe if I say this people will bring cheese to my book signings!). And on a more writerly note, I am the world’s worst typist so I am very fond of my dictation software.

About Cindy Brown

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Connect with Cindy Brown

CindyBrown-005-2_rt_smallwebWebsite: http://www.cindybrownwriter.com

Twitter: @friendlybrown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Brown-author/ 288210721356802

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Promote an Author Tuesday: Molly MacRae

It’s our last Promote an Author Tuesday of 2014! Thanks to all of you for stopping by to meet new authors. This week, meet Molly MacRae, author of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.

Plagued by Quilt

Plagued_by_quilt2.inddYarn shop owner Kath Rutledge is at a historic farm in Blue Plum, Tennessee, volunteering for the high school program Hands on History. But when a long-buried murder is uncovered on the property, Kath needs help from Geneva the ghost to solve a crime that time forgot . . .

Kath and her needlework group TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) are preparing to teach a workshop at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm, but their lesson in crazy quilts is no match for the crazy antics of the assistant director, Phillip Bell. Hamming it up with equal parts history and histrionics, Phillip leads an archaeological dig of the farm’s original dump site—until one student stops the show by uncovering some human bones.

When a full skeleton is later excavated, Kath can’t help but wonder if it’s somehow connected to Geneva, the ghost who haunts her shop, and whom she met at this very site. After Phillip is found dead, it’s up to Kath to thread the clues together before someone else becomes history.

About Molly MacRae

The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, published by Penguin/NAL. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. After twenty years in northeast Tennessee, Molly lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written? (Someone used “Harry Potter” as an example)

Any book by P.G. Wodehouse. He was a comic genius whose writing has given joy to readers for more than a hundred years. His stuff appears to be fluff and flippant on the surface, but he had a keen eye for the human condition and wrote with great heart.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?

My sister likes to tell about the time when I was four or five and she came home from college for the holidays. She got in after I was already in bed and asleep, but I woke up when she slipped into the trundle in my room. “Oh,” I said when I saw her, “I thought you were a wolf.” And then I fell back asleep. (It’s true, too. I did think she was a wolf, and although I wasn’t worried by that idea, I was happy to have her home again.)

What’s on your bucket list?

To see flowing lava, go to Shanghai to see where my father lived and my grandmother is buried, learn Tigrinya, visit a Lego factory and see the design process first hand.

Where would your main character go on vacation?

Kath, who’s into textiles and fibers, would like to go to Scotland for a couple of weeks and time the trip so she can go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival – a celebration of all things woolly and related to yarn, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving and felting, with tons of vendors and workshops. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? Plus, it’s Scotland!

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?

Sorry, there isn’t any one thing I can’t live without. There are plenty of things I’d miss terribly if I didn’t have them – chocolate, for instance (Or my sanity; is that a thing?) Otherwise, I don’t seem to form that kind of attachment. Things come, things go.

Connect with Molly MacRae

Molly_Wilder Rumors Author PhotoYou can find out more about Molly at www.mollymacrae.com. You can find her blogging on the first Monday of each month at www.amyalessio.com and on the 23rd of each month at www.killercharacters.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/molly.macrae.9 and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/MollyMacRae/

 

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Cover Reveal: Death Vetoes the Chairman

As my holiday gift to my readers, today I am revealing the cover of the newest Lizzie book, set to be released late next month! Happy Holidays!

DeathVetoChairman3a

An evening at a fundraiser with Jake Mathias turns into an emotional disaster when she is assaulted by Ethan Winthrop, an old high school friend of Jake’s. After a second run in a week later, Lizzie is shaken and afraid. It seems this isn’t the first time that Ethan has assaulted a woman; in fact, he has a long history of this type of behavior. And when Ethan’s body is found on Jake’s front porch, the prime suspects are Jake and Lizzie.

To clear their names, they must investigate the past, which means going back to Jake’s hometown in Virginia. One of the people they talk to ends up dead, and Lizzie and Jake find themselves in a fight for their lives in the cold Virginia mountains. Surviving is half the battle; they have to find out who wants them dead to keep them from finding out the truth.

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