The Lines Are Blurring

Well, yes, my eyes are getting worse. But this post isn’t about failing eyesight but boundaries, particularly with my “professional” and “personal” self. In my previous career as a social worker, we used to talk a lot about setting boundaries. It’s better for your emotional health to have rigid lines. As an author, I’ve found the lines blurring. Want some examples? CHICKS. Clearly, here at … Continue reading The Lines Are Blurring

Gone to Malice Domestic 2023

  This week marks the 35th Malice Domestic, the convention celebrating the traditional mystery. If you’re attending, please say hello–we’d love to see you! Ellen Byron/Maria DiRico “Cozy Or Traditional – What’s The Difference?” panel (Friday at 2 pm) “Simply the Best: Our Agatha Best Contemporary Novel Nominees” panel (Friday at 4 pm) Book Signing (Saturday at 10 am) Kensington Multi-Author Book Signing Event (Saturday … Continue reading Gone to Malice Domestic 2023

Behind the Book: Hot Pot Murder

Welcome to “Behind the Book,” our fun new Chicks on the Case feature! Join us as we Chicks share the real stories behind our stories. Inspiration, motivation, frustration, jubilation–you’ll find them all right here…  Hello! Jennifer here, and I’m going to talk about HOT POT MURDER–and cooking disasters. As some of you know, I grew up in a family restaurant. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t … Continue reading Behind the Book: Hot Pot Murder

Musically Yours

I have a thing for musicals. There’s something riveting about a show that features songs, and I’m very excited to go watch Legally Blonde (yes, there’s also a musical) tonight. My older daughter is actually playing in the pit orchestra for the musical (clarinet and bass clarinet, if you’re interested); it’ll be mostly professional musicians with a smattering of high school students. Here’s her souvenir … Continue reading Musically Yours

Pack It Up!

So we went on a road trip this past Presidents’ Day weekend. It’s the first pack-your-stuff travel I’ve had in 2023. After my four conferences last year, you’d think I’d be a pro. I’ve got these handy-handy travel items: But despite my detailed list and travel tools, I still managed to forget things on this trip: Here’s hoping I’ve refined my trip techniques before all … Continue reading Pack It Up!

All Things Cozy and Warm

I don’t like the rain. There, I said it. Sorry, El…I know you’re a pluviophile. To be fair, I do appreciate the water and the survival of plants. I also like being inside and reading a book on rainy days. I could do without the flooding and severe weather warnings, though. Apparently, I also can’t handle multiple days of rain and sequential weekends spent indoors. … Continue reading All Things Cozy and Warm

A Journey Through Ornaments

Confession: Sometimes I have Christmas tree envy. I see these beautifully decorated trees in holiday movies or in my neighbors’ homes, and I wonder why our tree isn’t like that—in which I mean artfully styled. For example, who wouldn’t want this cozy tree decked in knitted creations? We recently added a gnome to our ornament collection. A warm welcome to our Gnome Sweet Gnome. We … Continue reading A Journey Through Ornaments

Slippery Meanings

Language changes, evolves. I love that we find new ways of describing things and that we add helpful vocabulary. Unfortunately, I’m also currently feeling like I need to play catch-up. It’s like I’m Vizzini in The Princess Bride, and Inigo Montoya is telling me, “I do not think it means what you think it means.” Case in point: I often find myself asking my kids … Continue reading Slippery Meanings

Mnemonic Devices—Love Them or Hate Them?

I’m working on a new manuscript, and in it, I reference a rainbow. The mnemonic I learned in school, ROYGBIV, popped into my head. Great! Now I could label the colors! Wait a minute. Shouldn’t I know the hues without needing a reminder? How much do I rely on these mind tricks to help me? Certainly, when I competed in Science Olympiad (nerd alert!) in … Continue reading Mnemonic Devices—Love Them or Hate Them?

The Perfect Croissant/Word

I’ve been having an almond croissant craving recently. And I’m picky about my croissants. They need to be flaky and not too crispy on the outside. I also like them with plenty of almond paste filling and a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Maybe I want a croissant because I’m in the middle of edits. I’m in my revisions cave attempting to incorporate comments … Continue reading The Perfect Croissant/Word

Little Lanterns of Hope

I’ve always loved Chinese lanterns. Maybe it was because we had one hanging up in my childhood home. Or the fact that I did a school presentation on their use in the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. There’s something beautiful about a row of lanterns displayed together: Maybe I just like their vivid colors or the lights contained inside them. Lanterns always seem so cheerful. I once … Continue reading Little Lanterns of Hope

My Nonphotographic Ways

I begged my parents for my first camera. Those were the days when you couldn’t tell what photos you had taken—until they got developed. I’m pretty sure 99% of my shots were worthless. In fact, here’s an example of one: I believe I was trying to capture an interesting insect swimming in the water. When digital pictures came along, I was so happy. Now I … Continue reading My Nonphotographic Ways