Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Farm Fresh Murder by Paige Shelton

Well, I knew I was in for a good read when I noticed on the cover that this book came with recipes.  You can't possibly write a book showcasing the talents of the vendors participating in a Farmer's Market and not give us some of their secrets. And for the family of vendors at Bailey's Farmer's Market, there are more than their fair share of secrets going on!

Becca Robins, the towns unofficial crime fighter, lives on a small farm with her dog, Hobbit.  She sells jams and preserves at Bailey's, which happens to be run by her twin sister, Allison.  As the title of the book suggests, a murder has taken place at the market, and Becca, being the overly interested female that she is, gets right in the middle of it.  The suspect is her friend and fellow vendor, Abner Justen.  The victim; a former friend and long time enemy of Abner's, Matt Simonsen.  As Becca starts her own investigation, she starts a frenzy of activity among the vendors that leads you to believe more then one person might be involved.   Becca's investigation unlocks a secret from the past; a secret that was recently revealed by an accidental meeting between Abner and...you'll have to read the book and find out.  I can tell you that the closer Becca gets to the truth the more danger she encounters and the more desperate the murderer becomes.  An added bonus to the book is Becca's love interests.  Hmmm-are there two possibilities? 

Paige Shelton gives us a look inside  a world that most of us would never venture into.  Her characters are well written and the story flows smoothly from the start to the finish.  Along the way, you'll find yourself wishing you had a jar of Becca's fresh blackberry jam or pumpkin preserves.  For me; it made me pull out my kitchen gear and make some fresh "freezer" jam and blackberry cobbler.  I really loved this book and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.  You can read about Paige Shelton on her website at http://paigeshelton.com/

 Also, in case you missed my photos on Facebook...I met Paige this past weekend at a book signing!  Totally love her!

Paige Shelton, me, and Ellery Adams

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Writing Contest

I know, I know...what is happening to me?  I told Leah about another dreaded writing contest and she insisted that I set to out embarrass myself once again!  I'm so glad I don't take myself seriously.


Your story MUST start with this sentence: Janet was early. **
Your story MUST end with this sentence: Of course, she didn't know that.
Your story must be 100 words or less

Are you ready for my story?  This one is pretty hysterical...totally me.  This is not based on any event from my personal life.  I would never read a book like this at church.

Janet was early. She was the only Mormon on the block that didn’t follow Mormon standard time. Why she bothered to be punctual at all annoyed her. The Bishop had scheduled her meeting for 12:00 sharp, but even Janet knew it was a polite way of saying 12:30. Under the impression that this was just a social visit, Janet pulled out her copy of Lover Mine, by J.R. Ward and started reading it to fill the time. This was her only vice. Unfortunately, the Black Dagger Brotherhood was the reason for the visit. Of course, she didn’t know that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Good Thing #1:    Okay- for those of you that don't have Facebook; this is for you.  On the day I entered that dreaded writing contest (that I didn't win!) I was sitting quietly at my desk working on a homicide file when an e-mail from Andrew Grant popped up on my screen.  Andrew?  Why is he sending me an e-mail.  Did I do the unthinkable again and send him another message?  According to the message he sent; I did.  My friends really need to watch me more carefully.  Andrew was being as kind as he always is with me and thanking me for telling people about his books.  I didn't just send him an e-mail bragging about my contributions to his fame-I forwarded a message from a friend that had read his books and was passing the word along to her father.  It's all about word of mouth these days, right?  Just doing my part to keep this guy happy!

But wait!  That isn't all that happened on the day I entered that dreaded writing contest.  Did I tell you I didn't win?  I didn't win. 

Good Thing #2:   About an hour later when I signed in to check my Twitter account, (yes, I have a twitter account) I noticed I had a new follower.  A new follower...I know!  Totally shocking!  This would allow me to bring my world wide tweets to 4 people.  That's right...one, two, three, four!  Any guesses as to who my new follower is?  That's right, people-it's Andrew Grant!  Imagine, he actually thinks my tweets might be valuable.  I've only sent a total of six since I've started tweeting, but I am soooooooo ready get serious about it!

My day ended with me overly exhausted thanks to all the excitement in my day.  First there was the writing contest that I didn't win-but I was posted and congratulated for making it to the comment board.  That's good enough for me!  I couldn't hold my lunch in my over anxious belly because of it, but this truly was a good experience for me.  I might try another one in a few weeks.  I want to make sure Janet Reid has time to forget who I am.  And for all my curious friends- she is still allowing me to follow her on Twitter.  (I pray she continues this kindness.  I'd be lost in the reader world without her.)  Then of course the next major shocks to my system was the e-mail from Andrew and finding him following me on Twitter.  Such a scary thought. Does this mean I have to put more thought into my blogging?  Ugh-I really hope not!

Good Thing #3:   My package of goods didn't end there.  While preparing dinner for my super funny hubby, he hollered at me to come to the computer.  He pulled up my Facebook page and showed me the most unimaginable good news...Andrew Grant accepted my friendship request!  I am so happy my husband understands my need to be a true supporter of this man.  Andrew changed my life.  He really did!  When the time is right and my thoughts are finally in order; I'll tell you all about it.  It's a tear-jerker of a story.  I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about it.  All good stuff though-promise.

Well, this is my post for today; only because I'm not quite ready to talk about Farm Fresh Murder, by Paige Shelton and I don't want any e-mails complaining about me putting my new found writing career before my blog. 

Oh!  I almost forgot.  Andrew left me a message on Facebook today! 

This week ROCKS!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sabrina entered a writing contest

Okay friends, I think I've totally lost my mind and have gone over the edge of that dark abyss I've read about in so many books.  What on earth am I doing?  My favorite author has this really cool and witty agent named Janet Reid.  I started following her blog daily and I find myself intrigued at any and all things that are being written.  It's true when I tell you that most of the posts are over my head and that the comments are way beyond my understanding, but it doesn't matter to me.  I love trying to figure out what she and the other hundreds of people are trying to write about.  My desk top copy of GRAMMAR FOR DUMMIES and my all purposeful dictionary have become well used.  Until recently, I had no idea just how limited my vocabulary was.  I'm learning things and my friends are learning things because I'm following this blog.  Janet makes me think...imagine that!

In following Janet's blog, it became apparent that she does a ton of writing contests.  They're little things.  Mostly limited to a 100 words or less with specific story lines.  I've been forcing my friend Leah, who is in the process of finding her own agent, to participate in these contests.  Today, when I called her this morning about another contest, she told me I had to enter it too.  I thought she was kidding, but she wasn't!  I'm not a writer; I'm a blogger.  Maybe my last post showcasing my talents and book writing skills was a little too much.  The thought of her expecting me to participate through me over the edge.  I lost it.  My hands started shaking  and my heart started beating really hard.  I could see my shirt move with each heartbeat.  I thought I was going to die.  I have no imagination.  How could Leah expect me, Sabrina/Kate, to make up a story.  I write only from experience; nothing more.  Leah of all people should know this!

I sat there frozen in time for what seemed like hours.  I'd write a line, delete a line, and write another.  I had nothing to go on.  My mind was blank.  Well, it was blank until I remembered the conversation I had about Janet being on Twitter and her long list of do's and don'ts to following her tweets.  This I could write about; and I did!  The following is my 100 word story using the required words-heinous, sinister, nemesis, headgear, and minion.  (yes, I looked all the words up just to make sure I was on the same page)  Here is my story...

Kate was sitting at the bar drinking a coke with extra ice when her friend Paul sat down next to her...

"Please tell me you didn't do it, Kate, " Paul pleaded.

"I couldn't help it.  There was something about the way she posted rules on how to follow her on Twitter that made me wish I could be as heinous and sinister as she is.  Rules...who does that?"

Trying not to laugh, Paul sneered, "You're acting like she's your nemesis."

Wiping tears from her eyes, Kate refitted her headgear.  "ya right," she thought.  "I wouldn't even qualify as a minion."

In case you're wondering what it is that Kate did...she signed up to follow Janet on Twitter and spent the entire day daring herself to break the, no retweeting Janet's tweets, rule.  My story was posted along with about a hundred others.  It won't be a winner, but I'm darn proud of myself for jumping in and trying something new.  Trying something new...I think that's a theme for me this year.  It should be an idea for you, too.  If you want to try your hand at writing contests and win some really cool books by some really great authors-check out Janet's blog @ http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/

At the time of this posting, Janet Reid is still allowing me to follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm writing a book?

I have some great friends who think I have the ability to write a book.  I'm not quite sure why they are under this impression, but I've decided to wet their appetites just a little, and give them something to think about.

Out of curiosity, I set out to find information on writing a book.  My resource?  The Internet of course.  You can find just about anything on the Internet these days.  All of the information I have gathered during my crash course pointed to one important thing.  They all agreed that the first sentence/paragraph was the most important part of the book.  I needed to find something to draw the reader in; to make them want to keep reading.  I've spent about ten hours of my personal time coming up with a story to tell.  I was going to write a murder mystery involving my alter ego, Kate Dahson, but I decided it would be best for me to start with a writing style I'm familiar with.  Basically, I have no imagination. This means my first book, novel, or grasping at straws, would need to be about something I'm familiar with since I only know how to write by sharing what I know.  The following is the beginning (and I truly mean beginning) to my very first book thing.  Are you ready?  I think it's pretty good.  In fact, I can't wait to find out what happens...if only that part would come to me!!!

This is my idea for a story...we'll see by your responses if it's worth the effort.

My concept is to write a story that follows a woman from her childhood years to adulthood.  It would be one novel featuring three books.  The first book would follow this child through her early years as she survives life in a chaotic family and suffers through abuse and neglect.  The second book would follow her through her teenage years as she struggles to find stability and sets out to change the direction her life is heading towards.  The third book would feature her as a married adult, living with the pressures of striving for perfection, when the perfect fairy tale ending she was looking for, doesn't quite turn out the way she plans it.


A child’s journey through chaos

When we stepped off the plane in Portland that humid summer evening in 1982, I knew the events of the past year, or even the past twelve years of my life, would never be discussed.  I would receive no therapy for my experiences. No apologies for my suffering. No promises of a better future. It would be as if the beginning years of my life had never happened.  I would be expected to move forward and to forget.

If only I could forget.

"Sabrina said nothing..."

So the advice from my last post isn't as easy to follow as I thought it would be.  I already stuck my foot in my mouth twice today!  Everybody repeat after me:  "Reacher said nothing."

Monday, August 16, 2010


I've been meaning to write some things that I've learned since reading the Reacher novels...but there are so many things, I thought it best to start with one.  "Reacher said nothing" is constantly repeated throughout the entire series.  When you stop to think about it or look at how it is being referenced, it becomes a pretty good piece of advice.  A piece of advice I could have used about ten years ago when I was being interrogated by Internal Affairs while employed with the Sheriff's Department.  My interview went something like this:

IA:  "Do you know why you're here?"
S:    "I think so."
IA:  "Want to tell us about it?"
S:    They must know so I guess I'll just talk.  "It has to do with the falsification of time cards by the..."
IA:  "Time Card fraud?  When did this happen?"
S:    Oopsie...that's not what this is about?  "Ughhh.  It's been going on for about a year..."

Do you really want to know how it ended?  I had been reporting time card violations and working with the Department of Labor for close to a year before my interview with Internal Affairs.  It was only a matter of time before they got involved.  So naturally, when they started with such a vague opening I jumped right in with my two cents worth.  Their real interest: sexually explicit e-mails that the supervisors had been sending back and forth.  If only someone had told me about the Reacher novels before then...

Wikipedia says the following:   Reacher's demeanor is stoic and he does not talk much.  Reacher frequently does not answer when people make statements or ask questions, nodding or shrugging preferring the other party to fill the silence. A recurring line in the novels is "Reacher said nothing."

So in the future when we are being pushed for information by employees, friends, family, and others, we should remember to insert our name in the following sentence: "Sabrina, Kate, Richard, Leah, Jacque, etc said nothing" -and follow that advice. Always let others fill the silence. If it works for Reacher; it will work for us, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Does Lee Child Know...

how much I love reading about Reacher?  Does he know that I'm obsessed beyond reason?  Would he be surprised if I told him my husband has band me from reading these books on the weekend, and that I sneak them in the house and read them when Richard is asleep or in the shower?  I don't even remember the day Jack Reacher became a constant thought in my head or when I decided that all my current doings had to be centered around the dreaded question- what would Reacher do?  I just know that it happened and I'm willing to live with it and do any and all things within my power to make other women that I know read these books and become a Reacher thinker like me.  I'd consider myself a Reacher Creature-but I'm afraid the original creatures might not accept me since I'm still a newbie to the world of all things Reacher related.  I haven't even met Lee Child yet.  I don't have a signed copy of a book.  I learned about Lee Child while searching a website about my most favorite writer, his brother, Andrew Grant.  I have a long road ahead of me before I gain true acceptance, but I'm trying.  I have whizzed through all the games you can find on the Reacher/UK web page. I found Reacher before I had even started book six in the series.  Doesn't that score me some points?  I also bought my first hardback Reacher book yesterday and I'm signing up for Bouchercon 2011.  While my husband is thankful that I've found my own "passionate" hobby, I search through the Lee Child Forum on his web page secretly wishing I could be Webmaven Maggie for a day.  Reacher has become a permanent fixture in my soul.  There is no going back now!
What more can I say?  If my obsession with Reacher hasn't enticed you into reading these books then let me share some little known facts that will be sure to secure a place in your mind for this incredible man.

Name:  Jack Reacher
Measurements: 6'5", 220-250 lbs., 50" chest  (that's right, 50 inch chest!)
Hair: Dirty-blond
Eyes: Ice blue

Reacher left home at 18 and attended West Point.  After graduating, he served in the Army for thirteen years and "mustered out" as a major.  You don't even want me to tell you about his service awards.  Let's just say this man is everything a man should be and leave it at that. He currently loves to wander around the US-only because moving has always been a part of his life.  He's a lover and a fighter; two things that are essential and totally acceptable in Reacher's world.  I don't think he'll ever settle down, which certainly can't be a bad thing.  I mean, come on, I might find him wandering the streets of Magna one day and get to take him home with me.  Okay, so Richard probably wouldn't allow that.  But still- anything is possible, right?

I'm starting book nine in the Reacher series and have posted the book cover on my blog. Ladies, you have to read these books.  We are all Reacher worthy!  At least Richard says my eyes and butt are...That's right;  I'm Reacher worthy, baby!


I finished CRASHERS by Dana Haynes a couple of days ago and all I can say is....TOTAL PERFECTION!

The first pages of the book left me emotionally drained.  I could see, hear, and even feel what was happening as this jetliner met its doom. I actually cried more than once.  There is nothing better then flicking a few tears away while reading a good book.  After recovering from the visions I encountered during the aftermath of the accident, I braced myself for the in depth knowledge that I would eventually gain as Dana Haynes moved forward with the investigation by the NTSB in determining the cause of the crash.  Since I'm not one to write reviews, you won't find me rehashing anything specific about the book or telling you much about the characters.  That's because I want you to READ the book!  The only thing I will share is that the book has a handsome hero, an ex-Israeli spy chic, a creepy and evil engineer, Irish terrorists, and a story line that will keep you wanting more.  You'll want so much more that you will jump for joy like I did when you hear that Haynes is working on a sequel. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've been trying to figure out why I've been so moody and cranky the last two weeks when I realized that I'm missing my Jack Reacher novels.  I was supposed to start book nine over a week ago and I put it on hold to start a book that was suggested by some woman in New York.  I wrote about it last week.  It's a good book, but I really can't wait to get back to Reacher.  I miss Reacher.  I never would have thought I could miss a fictional character this much, but I do.  Such is life with no kids and too much free time on your hands.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about another book.  I've been waking nightly to claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, and the sound of hard rain hitting the windows.  Summer storms are one of my favorite things.  Mostly we have them during the day, but the past three weeks they've been pretty consistent and have been rolling through our neighborhood around two in the morning.  For some reason they keep reminding me of DRACULA.  Why- I'm not sure. 

I first read Dracula this summer when a neighbor suggested it during a dinner conversation.  In short, my neighbor hates the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers.  He's never read the books, but he knows enough about them (so he thinks) to form an opinion.  He thinks they are warping the mind of young women across the world and that vampires are evil creatures.  Clearly he hasn't read the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward.  If he had, his opinion of vampires might be different.  Anyway, he feels vampires are evil and have no place in the world.  Now, lets skip forward three weeks later when we're at dinner again talking about our favorite books.  When I ask what his favorite book of all time is.....he answers, DRACULA!!!  Yes, we laughed, and he admitted his ignorance towards our last conversation.  He even offered to read Twilight out of guilt.  I told him not to bother.  The only book in the series that was worth reading was Twilight itself.  Plus, his opinion is so strong and negative  that he would never make it through the first chapter.  In the end, he let me borrow his copy of Dracula in exchange for two books I bought and hated.

By page seven of Dracula, I was ready to die.  I knew this was going to be the longest book I had ever agreed to read.  I mean really, how many pages of carriage rides do you have to read to get to the real story?  I guess you'll have to read it and find out.  In the end, Dracula was a page turner.  My neighbor said Mina Harker was a true heroine.  She is.  She has the patience, the grace, and the wisdom to lead a small army.  She's loved by all the men in the book.  She's loved so much that any one of them would be willing to die for her. In fact, one of them does.   I'm also equally impressed with Dracula's ability to play games.  While the men are busy following the walking dead around and plotting the end of Dracula, they forget to keep a watchful eye on their beloved Mina.  There time away; allows Dracula to play.  While reading this book I could understand why my neighbor loves it so much.  I ended up loving it, too.  So much that I'm seeking a leather bound copy for my collection.  If you want a great book to read on a dark and stormy day, or night, Dracula is my pick.  You should read it anyway and discover why vampires are so intriguing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This past weekend I took my spouse with me to Barnes & Noble so I could pick up a new book.  Richard hates book stores.  I told him to look around while he waited and  promised that I would only be a minute.  This picture is what I found a few minutes later.  I've been trying to get Richard to read my favorite crime drama books but he's been showing no interest.  Imagine my surprise when he asked if he could buy the book he found. We had a great weekend sitting around the house reading books.  I hope this is the beginning of many more shared interests.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Holding my breath

A flight from my home in Utah to my father's home in Oregon doesn't last long; somewhere just over an hour. My husband and I were flying  to Portland on a clear fall afternoon and  looking at a perfect view of Mt. Hood when suddenly the plane dropped.  It wasn't a big drop, but it was hard, and it landed us in the worst section of turbulence I've ever been a victim of.  The plane shook rapidly and without any certain rhythm, and if felt like it was searching for a perfect piece of air to catch. The women on board were crying and the children were screaming that blood curdling sound that makes your ear drums pulse. Overhead bins started opening, dumping luggage on the passengers below, and all I could feel was the pain in my fingers from locking them around my arm rests in that well known death grip.  I remember my husband taking his hand to hold my face and telling me to breathe. It took me a few seconds to understand what he wanted me to do.  I was terrified.

I relived every moment of this experience in the first pages of CRASHERS, by Dana Haynes.  It was one of many moments in just the first 68 pages that made me hold my breath.  Dana's writing is incredibly descriptive and makes you become a witness to all things that happen in this book.  His decision to write a book about what the NTSB endures when they investigate crash scenes is beyond brilliant, and his ability to bring life to all the characters in this book made me forget that I was reading a work of fiction. 

When the pilot of the plane, Meghan Danvers, screams just before the crash; I heard it and I held my breath. I could feel her emotions as she wrestled to save this flight from its final outcome.  I've experienced the same scream myself and know how difficult it is to be in a situation that you ultimately can't control.  Likewise, when a survivor of this crash walks away uninjured and emotionally breaks down while being questioned; I could feel his terror.  I couldn't breathe and I broke down and cried. 

I've said from the beginning that my blog is about me bringing a little bit of reality to what I'm reading. This is the only way I know how to write.  All I can do is encourage you to buy this book.  I need to know how many other people hold their breath like me.   Dana Haynes has officially made it to my list of writers I want to grow old with. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What people are saying

People have been asking how my practice shoot with the SIG SAUER went this week.  Here's what I know.  The SIG SAUER may have been the weapon I was hoping to show off in my next dream with David Trevellyan, but it turned out to be too heavy for my wrist and the trigger pull was too long. My husband had me try his Beretta .40 caliber which is much lighter and has a shorter trigger pull.  It suited me perfectly.  The following image will show you just how much I improved after changing my weapon choice. That's right, people.  I hit dead center!!! Looks like I'm ready to do my part in saving my most beloved character in my dreams!  I'm still waiting for the dream to be rewritten.


Thanks for the email, but I have already started my day reading your blog. I've already decided the same thing, that I need to start my days reading your blog!! Have a great day!!!  Ginger B.

I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but thank you once again for your willingness to help out anytime a need comes up. You are an incredible asset to me and I very much appreciate all that you do.
(…and now the blogs are just an added bonus!)   Pam S.--Pam is my supervisor, and yes, she really does call me Grasshopper.  I call her, Master.

You are very eloquent in your thoughts and imagination. You are something else, friend. Very descriptive, imaginary, adept to what is going on. WRITE THAT BOOK!!!  Christine H.--sorry friend, but I don't have an interest in writing a book.  Plus- I might get sued for trying to make money talking about all these writers and characters.

And a big THANKS goes to Leah for telling her father about my blog and letting him know about the David Trevellyan series by Andrew Grant.  I have no doubt he'll love them! 

It looks like this little blog is starting to work!