Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breaking News - Killer Career Just Got a Brand New Review

I'm interrupting my regular blogs to bring you this Breaking News -

Killer Career just received another review, about which I'm very happy.

April Pohren from Cafe of Dreams writes:
"Killer Career is filled with delightful twists, turns and satisfying suspense. Readers will have a hard time putting this down, once they have begun the first page."

For the full review, come on over to

Morgan Mandel


One of my recent bargains was a half-price webcam with a built-in micrphone. $20 seemed an inexpensive way to try something different, like Skype.

Have you had any luck with it? Is it hard to do? What do you use Skype for?

If you haven't used it, are you thinking of trying it?

Let me know.

Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

See Acme about Starting Over

Hi Gang,
I'm over at on Wednesday. Topic is Starting Over. Come on over and share your thoughts about starting over in the New Year.


Monday, December 28, 2009


I own a 2003 Dodge Neon, which doesn't get much use since I commute most of the time on the train. It's cute, but not anywhere near as classy or expensive as the car on the left,owned by Exotic Car Share, in which I was fortunate enough to ride in the 2007 Arlington Heights Frontier Days Parade.

Cars have a way of reflecting their owners. Not many rich people drive around in beaters, at least not that I know of, unless they're trying to go incognito.

You can use cars to describe your characters when you write. I used cars as symbolism in my mystery, Two Wrongs. One of the cars was an Infiniti, which Cathy, the love interest for the protagonist, Danny, drove. I won't tell you what happened to her. You can get a hint by the model of the car, or better yet, read the book to find out for sure.

What about you? What do certain cars say about their owners? What kind of car do your drive, or would you like to drive, if you could? Or, if you're a writer, have you ever used cars to help describe characters?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Giving and Receiving

Giving makes me feel good. Sharing love with my family, a smile with a child, a writing tip with an author, walks with my dog - there are so many ways I can give to others and feel good about it.

Receiving also makes me feel good, but for some reason it's harder for me to accept from others than to give to them.

Why I'm writing about this today is because it's the end of the year. The DH and I didn't make as much money in 2009 as in prior years. Still, there are many less fortunate than us. Also, there are tons of worthy causes in need of support, especially with our sagging economy.

For the next day or so, I'll be making out checks to my favorite charities. This is a practice I perform every year after Christmas. It's a way to give back a portion of what I've received during the year. Some of my favorite charities are: Little City, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, National Federation of the Blind, American Lung Association, Alzheimer's Disease Research, Catholic Relief, American Red Cross. There are more, but I don't want to bore you with my entire list.

I'll get a tax break in return for sharing, but much more than that will be the feeling that I've helped in some way to make this world a better place.

What about you? Do you enjoy giving to charities?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Words, Numbers or Both? Which Do You Like?

Today, I really am going to work on my State of Illinois Sales Tax form. The due date is coming up very soon. Besides, it's not that great outside, so I don't feel like going anywhere. I have a  borrowed kindle from the library that's due, but other than that I'll stay indoors. (Really tempted to get one. Not sure if I'll wait for the Apple version. I head it might be twice as much)

I hate working with figures. Good thing I'm not rich. Arithmetic is a pain. I've heard that people who have an aptitude for words are not always happy working with numbers, and are not always as successful at it.

What about you? Do you like one better than the other? Or, are you lucky enough to like both?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

This pic was taken about four years ago, when I could actually put up a large tree and decorate it. I'm doing the small fiber optic one this year and making sure it's way out of reach.

Maybe next year I can trust Rascal enough to do the works again. We'll see. (g)

Be safe and happy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Come on Over

I'm over at a few other blogs today. If you get a chance, come on over to see the Christmas Decorations at

At  the topic is Spoiled Milk. Ever sit down to read a good book and been disappointed?

If you haven't yet, check out the post below about the Paper War.

Morgan Mandel

Monday, December 21, 2009

Paper War

I've been waging a war on paper the last few days. So far, paper is winning. The more I clean up, the more of it I find. The problem is, for much of it, I feel an obligation to do a thorough examination and decide whether or not it's worth keeping.

The mailperson is my enemy. He, sometimes she, keeps leaving more paper in my mail box. I'm not talking about my Christmas cards, which I cherish, but all the other stuff dropped off for me to sort out. At times it's torture to come home and see the new pile the DH has set on the kitchen table.

I've discovered tons of magazines over a year old. They were trying to hide in a magazine holder on the side of the couch, but not doing a good job of it, since they were spilling over. Of course, I decided to check the headings on the covers to see if some of the information inside might prove valuable. Wouldn't you know it, I was right. Many articles seemed to good to give up.

I've already mentioned here before about how I also have a compulsion to print out emails that seem important to me. The result is I have lots of important pieces of paper. When there's an abundance, which is the most important? And, where's the one I really need? It is a quandary.

What about you? Is paper your enemy? Are you also waging a war against it? Who is winning?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Card Blues Is Up at Un:Bound Today

Hi Gang,
 I've written a short Christmas story which is being featured at Un:Bound today.
You may be able to relate to some of it.

I'd appreciate your going over to look and leave a comment.

Rascal's Turn to Post

Today, I'm going to tackle my State of Illinois sales tax form, which is due by the end of the month. It's a necessary evil for making book sales outside of stores.

So, I let Rascal do a post instead. You can read it at

If you understand her frustration, you can share it with her here or there.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Enjoying My End Cap

Wow! I've got an end cap going at Waldenbooks! It doesn't happen often, but I'm enjoying the sight while it lasts. It's one of those rare thrills in my life as an author. I treasure every one of them.

The reason for the end cap is I'm doing a KILLER CAREER Book Signing at Waldenbooks, 500 W. Madison (Ogilvie Transportation Center) in Chicago on Friday, from 12 - 2, or longer, if supply lasts.

Hope to see a few of you there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What do you wear at home?

I have separate clothes for work or going out than I do for at home. Even though we're allowed to wear jeans at work, still when I get home I usually change into more comfortable clothes as soon as I can. I like to wear my old cotton blend stretchy kind of pants and one or another of my not so great looking, yet comfy tops, along with my slippers. I hardly ever go barefoot. For one thing, with my crummy flat feet, the foot doctor says that's one of the worst things I could do. I also have some fleece vests and fleece jackets for the really cold, windy days when I'm sitting at the keyboard at home and it gets drafty inside.

What about you? Do you have separate clothes for in public and at home, or do you dress the same?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rascal Visits Bentley's Corner Barkery

Rascal gets so much joy from visiting Bentley's Corner Barkery we take her there at least once or twice a week. On the way there, as we were walking down the street, a guy said, "That's a good looking dog."

Afterwards, the DH and I had to laugh. As usual, Rascal's more popular than either of us. Since I've got some new friends here now, you've probably not seen a video of our dog child, so here's one from one of her visits to Bentley's.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you ready?

I am so not ready for Christmas. I just realized I don't have much time either. One good thing is the DH is off Friday and possibly all next week, so I can give him a few chores to do, which may help some. I'm counting on him to put stamps and labels on the Christmas cards, and do a few things around the house to straighten it out some. Unfortunately, I'm the organizer in the family, so I can't expect too much on the getting-the- house ready front. That's pathetic, since I'm not very organized. (g)

Anyway, I hope to get the house into decent shape before Christmas, when I do my annual meal for the family. There's also that Christmas list to get together. Time is ticking away.

What about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Or do you celebrate another Holiday? If so, are you ready?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Please Welcome Mary Cunningham, Cynthia's Attic Author

Discovering Family in Cynthia's Attic

One of the main reasons for writing "Cynthia's Attic" came from my failure - failure to appreciate my ancestors. Our family stories are probably no more or less interesting than most, and I went out of my way to avoid remembering most of them or asking questions about my grandparents lives.

For instance. Did I bother to ask my grandfather what it was like playing in the first night football game in America?

Or did I try to find out just which relative "supposedly" sold a city block on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles for $20,000? Guaranteed, I would not be sitting here writing a blog had that particular relative held on to the property.

Then there's the story, "Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou," of my great-great grandfather, Augustus Boilliat who disappeared in 1860 while taking a load of produce down the Mississippi River to New Orleans? Oh, sure I've read different accounts about what happened to him, but lost forever are the stories his grandson (my grandfather) could've told me about facts he'd heard from my great-great grandmother, Marie Julia, about her husband's disappearance.

I remember a few accounts told by my dad about his adventures as a teenage cave guide at one of the largest caves in the Southern Indiana area, Wyandotte, but I only have to guess at some of the adventures he must've had.

That's why I'm writing adventures I wanted my ancestors to have; adventures I can enjoy with them through the eyes and voice of my character, Gus.

The idea for Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle came from detailed genealogy research done by my cousin, Betty. Long before the Internet, she traveled to Switzerland to search for documents that would tie our great-grandmother, Harriet Kistler, to Peter Kistler the First, President of the Republic of Bern, 1470-1480. I've tried to honor the Kistler family in the fourth adventure in Cynthia's Attic.

Thanks, Morgan, for having me as a guest!

          Mary Cunningham

Mary Cunningham is the author of the award-winning 'Tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic. She is proud to announce the release of book four, "The Magician's Castle," Dec 1, 2009. Her children's mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that the dream took place in the home of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

She is also co-writer of the humor-filled, women's lifestyle book, "Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF)," along with published stories, "Ghost Light" and "Christmas Daisy," A Cynthia's Attic short story.

To celebrate the release of "The Magician's Castle," (Quake/Echelon Press, DEC 1, 2009), a winner will be chosen on each blog stop to receive a copy of the "Cynthia's Attic" short story, "Christmas With Daisy!" So, be sure to make a comment!

Mary Cunningham Books

Cynthia's Attic Blog




Quake/Echelon Press

Please leave a comment to welcome Mary.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Check out the Mystery of the Missing Checks

Monday, I'm over at my group blog,, where I'm blogging about the mystery of the missing checks. Come on over and find out what it's all about.

Morgan Mandel

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Can We Talk?

I'm firming up some dates for speaking engagements in 2010. One's tentatively set for March 28, at 1:30 at the Niles Public Library, another probably in mid May at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

Also, coming up is a radio interview at WJJQ again on May 7, at 9:35 a.m. before my booksigning May 8 at Cover to Cover Books in Tomahawk, WI.

I've heard that some people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying. Surprisingly, I find it easier each time I do it. As long as I have my cheat sheet with me to glance down at once in a while for security and I like what I'm talking about, I'm okay.

What about you? Do you like to talk or would you rather not?

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Over the Holiday weekend I took a good look at my house and that familiar helples feeling washed over me again. It seemed like an insurmountable task to get the place in order. It still does.

I spend so much time writing and promoting after I do my day job, what little time I have left is precious. Still, sometimes I just have to buckle down and ignore my compulsion to write and make myself clean house instead. I tackled the spare bedroom, which had clothes and all kinds of other articles strewn over the bed, on the floor, and anywhere you can think of, compliments of myself and the DH, who were equally guilty.  I did make some headway, which made me feel good, but if I had more time I know I could do better. Also, there are so many other projects left to do if I were to get the house really into shape. I'm wondering how much I'll get done before Christmas, when I have my family over.

Maybe over the weekend I can get more done, that is, after I do the Illinois sales tax form first, which is due by the end of the month. I've got almost all of my check statements, except one, which I think I can find online, so maybe I can get that done. You may have guessed I'm not the most organized person in the world.

Anyway, let's see how far I can get cleaning up. I've got this kindle on loan from the library, with about 9 days left on it, and lots of good books on it beckoning to me. I've got some great ideas for stories I want to start and others I want to continue. I've got some blog buddies I haven't visited for a while. I wonder what will win out. (g)

What about you? What do you do about housework? Does it get in the way sometimes?

PS The not so surprising results are up on the left for my EZ poll. I'll have to do a harder one some time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Killer Career Excerpt at Acme Authors Link

Hi Gang,
Today, I've got a new Killer Career excerpt up at . This one continues from the first excerpt I posted on Monday at

If you're curious about my recently released romantic suspense, come on over to one or both blogs to check it out.