Category Archives: reading

New Year, New Ideas


Happy New Year! I love setting New Year Resolutions, but here’s my trick to success. I never write them down! That way, by the end of the year, I don’t remember what they were so I don’t remember if I didn’t get where I thought I was going.

In 2016, I do remember one of my goals – to have my new series published by a small press instead of my own imprint, as I do with my Jake & Emma series. That’s when I approached Cozy Cat Press, a publisher I’d had my eye on for a year or more. I’m happy to say that’s one resolution I achieved! The Deadly Art of Deception was released September 30.

In 2017, I hope to release the second book in that series and the (oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m saying this) the sixth Jake & Emma. I’m also planning to devote more time to my writing since I’ve been writing pretty much whenever I feel the inspiration. That’s nice, but it doesn’t get much writing done! I’ve started writing every day but Sunday and it’s been great. I’ve already written two short stories based on my daily writing prompts.

My second resolution is to start working my way through my “to be read” pile. Do you have books waiting for you? I have them in my e-reader, on my shelf and stacked on the bedside table!

What are your plans for the new year?

Book of the Month

Book of the Month

Hi everyone!

Where did August go and why did the temperature change overnight? Suddenly, I’m sleeping longer in the morning and feeling chilled even when it’s still warm outside. That’s what autumn does to a person. For many, this is the best time of year. It isn’t mine but then I tend to be a bit of a killjoy. As each day gets cooler and each leaf flutters to the ground, my mind suddenly fills with pictures of blowing snow and icy roads. Sorry about that!

There is, however, something to look forward to every month of the year – whether it’s 35*Celsius (very hot) or -25*Celsius (very cold) – and that is my Book of the Month!

September’s book on Kindle for 99 cents is calamity@thecarwash.

A marital spat at a car wash turns deadly – and Mabel Wickles, Parson’s Cove’s amateur sleuth, isn’t buying the claim that the victim’s wife bashed him over the head with a brick. However, when the woman confesses to the murder, Mabel decides to investigate the crime herself – along with help from her best friend Flori, her cat Sammy, and a busload of senior citizens.

Not Great!

Not Great!

And I know I have your attention because there are so many things in life that are ‘not great.’ For example, it could be the weather. Right now, my husband is in bed with  heat exhaustion. We live in a part of the world where it’s so cold in the winter that by March, you are starting to dream about heat. At that point, you doubt you could ever get warm and you would be thrilled to just sit and sweat. Well, guess what? You get heat for three months and you are longing to get cooled down again. Of course, there are other aspects of the weather that are not great either – like tornadoes and flooding.

I’m thinking of something else though and that’s getting older. Now, I know it’s inescapable so there’s no point in moaning about all our aches and pains. Today, I’m dealing with one depressing truth about aging and that’s your memory. Where the heck does it go?? Friends tell me that I have an amazing memory. And it’s true, I can remember when I was a very small child. Many memories are so fresh, it seems like yesterday and not seventy years ago. So, you ask, what’s your problem, lady?

I’ll tell you my problem: Why can’t I remember things that I did a couple of days ago? Or even yesterday when I told my husband that I’d put his phone in a certain place? Why was it somewhere else where I was sure it wasn’t? Now, you know my problem.

What is bringing all this to my mind? As I started to check some of my past blogs, I noticed something. In May, my book Perplexity on P 1/2 was on for 99 cents. No, that can’t be! It is August’s Book of the Month. Surely, I couldn’t have put the same book on only a few months apart. I do have six Parson’s Cove mysteries so why would I keep repeating one book? I’ll tell you why – I am over seventy and have a lousy memory!

On the other hand, I might be able to get away with a few things. Who can get upset with a senior who sports a blank look on her face when she’s in trouble? I wouldn’t try it with a big tough traffic cop though – you might end up having to forfeit your driver’s license.

So, as far as I can remember, my two books on sale this month for 99 cents are Perplexity on P 1/2 (which I’m sure you remember was for that price in May) and Sarah’s Valley. If you didn’t get them then, you’d better get them now because who knows when I’ll remember to put them on special again!

August’s books of the Month: #2 in Parson’s Cove Mystery series and Historical Fiction, Sarah’s Valley. Both 99 cents on Kindle!


June is swiftly passing by…

June is swiftly passing by…

Today was the first day of summer. It’s hard to believe that spring is gone forever for 2016!  This is my favorite time of  year. The trees and lawns are so green it hurts your eyes. Soon, if it’s a hot dry summer, our lawns will turn a dull brown and leaves will begin to drift down from the tree branches. Now, the flowers are in full bloom and the scent of lilacs fill the air. I know no one really feels like reading – they feel more like getting out into the garden and pulling weeds. Or, at least, they know that’s what they should be doing. On the other hand, gazebos make a wonderful place to enjoy the warm air, the flowers’ scents, and the sound of the birds. And, a wonderful place to read.

This is just a reminder that Frozen Identity is still on for 99 cents until July 1st.

If you live in Arizona perhaps this story will cool you off!

When a frozen corpse is discovered in a fishing shack on a nearby lake, most residents of Parson’s Cove assume the man succumbed to the blistery cold. However, after the body thaws, the coroner discovers that the man––one Victor Fleming––was actually beaten to death. Eye witnesses suggest that town bad boy Jakie Flanders was seen leaving the shack the night of the murder and was overheard threatening Fleming in town earlier. Add this to the fact that Victor Fleming was Jakie’s mother’s first cousin and was demanding money from her––and Jakie’s motives for murder were piling up. Jakie’s mother Flori, a crier if there ever was one, is so devastated when her oldest boy is arrested that she is drained of all her tears, and only her best buddy and local amateur sleuth Mabel Wickles seems to have any faith that Jakie might just be innocent. Putting her detective cap on, Mabel enlists the aid of her young computer expert friend Nathan Horne and her pal the local Sheriff, Reg Smee, in her attempt to clear Jakie and bring her friend Flori some relief. Soon, Mabel discovers a startling fact. The frozen body, whom everyone assumes is Victor Fleming––isn’t. Did Jakie kill the wrong man––if he killed anyone at all? Or is there another reason entirely for this corpse’s frozen identity? Mabel will encounter many more clues before she puts this mystery on ice.


Don’t forget!

Don’t forget!

Just a reminder that ALL of my books are still on for 99 cents on Kindle. How much longer will they be this price? Well, you will have to read The Cozy Cat Chronicle blog on April 14th for find out! Meanwhile read and enjoy. If you love any of them, please write a brief review. It would be SO appreciated.

A Reminder

A Reminder

All my books, cozy mysteries and historical fiction are now on sale for 99 cents each.


Musical chapter headers


By Sally Carpenter

One distinct feature of my cozies is that I use song titles as my chapter headers. My protagonist is a former teen idol, so the story is heavy into music. And just saying “chapter one, “chapter two,” etc. is so bland.

The title makes some reference to what’s in the chapter so I can keep track of the action. And I just like the challenge and fun of finding songs to fit the story; it amuses me.

Below are the chapter titles to my upcoming cozy. “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.” See if you know the artist who recorded the song.

1. Monday, Monday

2. I Want To Know

3. We Just Disagree

4. Carry On Wayward Son

5. Be True to Your School

6. Stiletto

7. (It’s a) Family Affair

8. If You’ve Got Trouble

9. Call Me

10. Games People Play

11. Xanadu

12. Listen to the Band

13. Sometimes She’s a Little Girl

14. Saturday in the Park.

15. Up, Up and Away

16. We Can Work It Out

17. FM (No Static at All)

18. (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden

19 You Won’t See Me

20. Diary

21. Your Lying Eyes

22. Mr. Success

23. Thanks for the Pepperoni

24. I Can’t Get Her Off My Mind

26. Garden Party

26. Live and Let Die

27. Last Dance


1. The Mamas and The Papas

2. Eric Clapton and The Powerhouse

3. Dave Mason

4. Kansas

5. The Beach Boys

6. Billy Joel

7. Sly and the Family Stone

8. Beatles, but didn’t appear until “Anthology”

9. Blondie

10. The Spinners

11. Olivia Newton-John from the movie soundtrack

12. The Monkees

13. Boyce and Hart

15. Fifth Dimension

16. Beatles again

17. Steely Dan

18. Lynn Anderson

19. Beatles one more time

20. Bread on the original version but Micky Dolenz recorded it years later

21. The Eagles

22. First recorded by Frank Sinatra but I have a version by Bobby Sherman

23. Extra points as this one’s obscure. An instrumental jam on the third disc of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” opus.

24. Monkees once more

25. Ricky Nelson

26. Paul McCartney and Wings

27. Donna Summers.




Bret Takes 5 with Barbara Jean


Hi there, guys and dolls! And here we go again, another month coming to a close. With it comes one of my favorite things, cozying up to another one of my fellow writers. Please meet Bret Jones, who also loves all things past as much as I do. His LISTENER IN THE DARK, an Old Time Radio Mystery, is just fantabulous and I can’t wait for the next. Keep on reading to get to know the delightful Mr. Jones.

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

The Old Time Radio Mystery series focuses on mysteries involving shows, items, Listener_frontMcGuffins from “old time radio,” which covers a period from the 1920s to 1962. Once the most popular medium for entertainment and media, radio had the life choked out of it when TV became popular. Today, there are several appreciation groups for the lost art form, as well as performers who re-create old shows at conventions and other venues. Tucker Niles, the series’ protagonist, is a DJ in a town in Oklahoma who has a Sunday night slot showcasing old time radio shows. In the first book, a fellow collector and fan of OTR finds the “lost ark” of missing radio shows and ends up dead. Niles sets to find his friend’s killer and discover what he had found.

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

The writing process, unfortunately, is interrupted by life! I have writing chores I perform at my job – a Theatre professor at Wichita State University. I write screenplays and web series for student performers to film. I don’t wait on the muse. I try and schedule the time!

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

I thought of myself as an “author” when my first book was published. It made me feel as if I might be on the right track with my writing work.

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

I listen to music, old time radio, or watch old movies. All of these spark my creativity and imagination.

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

Thomas H. Cook, Charles Todd, and Simon Brett’s Blotto and Twinks series all have inspired me as of late. Cook’s work is so powerful in creating intense emotional moments on the page. Todd’s work is in a time period that I am interested in and study. The Blotto and Twinks series is so silly and fun, which gives me comedic inspiration.

Thanks for dropping by for a chinwag, Bret.  I just love meeting interesting people. And dear friends and readers, be sure to pick up your Kindle copy of LISTENER IN THE DARK today and click here to check out Bret’s website. You’ll be glad you did. Till next time, darlings!


Barbara Jean

What Makes a Good Book?


Hi there, guys and dolls! Hope you are having a lovely September. As the seasons change, if you are a reader (which I’m guessing if you reading this, you are…think about it, it’s not that hard), then one thing remains the same – the love of a good book. 11870869_1686002078286509_313793752052374959_n

Us book lovers just keep right on reading throughout the year. The seasons may reflect our choices, perhaps our thoughts turn to love and light reads during the milder and warmer months, and then our interests may shift to heavier tomes and/or the classics during the crisp and chilly autumn and winter, but the reason for reading may remain the same. To transport ourselves to places and on adventures we can take from a comfortable chair at anywhere and anytime we choose. We may also select books where the hero or heroine may have slices of life that reflect our own, which helps us think about how we handle or view our own personal journeys.

Deeming a novel a good book is so subjective, and it should be. It’s a very personal and intimate thing, which is sometimes reflected in reviews and stars, but not always. A good book should be what you get out of it, the thoughts and emotions that are provoked within you. Do you long to be in the world that the author has created? Do you weep with joy or sorrow as the story unfolds? Does time slip away as you turn the page? Do you want to rush to finish, yet at the same time savor every word? Do you simply find yourself caring about the people and places you visit in your mind’s eye? A good book will do that for you.

I love to read (as do my writing alter egos Andrea and Heather). I also do my best to put those qualities into what I write. Time creating my town and my people is like another realm, yet feels so real that when something exciting (good or bad) happens, I sometimes catch myself thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to tell Margot and Daphne about it!’ then chuckle, realizing they’re imaginary. The good thing is, being that they are, in a funny way, they are always there, just waiting in my mind’s eye to hear from me.


Barbara Jean