Posted by Donna MacMeans May 23 2013, 12:32 am in consignment shop mysteries, Donna MacMeans, Duffy Brown, Iced Chiffon, Savannah
You know -
I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog than the title of Duffy Brown’s latest cozy mystery: Killer in Crinolines. Duffy was last here to talk about Iced Chiffon, the first book in her consignment shop mystery series, a fun book set in Savannah with quirky characters who could all be homicide suspects. That’s where we first met Reagan who becomes an amateur sleuth in order to save her beloved historic-home-turned-consignment-store. Can’t wait to drop into Duffy’s world again.
Hi Reagan Summerside here to talk weddings. The good, the bad and the deadly
You know that old saying, always the bridesmaid never the bride, well I’ve been both. The bride part didn’t take proven by the fact that I caught Hollis, my husband and the hound of Savannah, doing the horizontal hula with Cupcake right there in his office. That was some staff meeting, all right.
The last wedding I attended I came to deliver a bowtie to the groom as he misplaced his. The good part of that wedding was the cake was delicious. The deadly part was that the groom wound up dead in five tiers of icing and fondant, the ugly part was that my BFF, Chantilly, the groom’s ex got accused of the murder.
Round tables decked out in peach-tone wedding linens with white flower arrangements of roses and forget-me-nots dotted the room and Doreen-the-wedding-planner lay crumbled in a heap on the floor.
“Oh dear Lord!” I starting for Doreen but stopped in my tracks because Simon was there too. He was face down in his very own five-tiered wedding cake with a silver cake knife sticking out of his back.
Chantilly shouldn’t have been at the wedding in the first place of course but she and her UPS truck just sort of wound up there.
“You shouldn’t be here,” I said to Chantilly as she swiveled round in the driver’s seat of her UPS van. White icing and cake crumbs smeared her lips and a glob of raspberry filling dripped down her chin. A pink butter cream rose stuck to the front of her brown uniform blouse. “Dear God in heaven! You went and ate the wedding cake!”
“One slice,” she mumbled around a mouthful. “Who’s going to miss one little old slice? The freaking thing is five tiers high. It took three Cakery Bakery employees and the owner Delta Longford herself to lug it in. They even made GracieAnn Harlow stand on a ladder to get the bride and groom thing on top.”
Chantilly held up a chunk of mangled pastry. “This here should be my wedding cake, except for the pink roses. This should be my wedding day, my wedding colors of creamy-peach and blue-morning-rain. Simon is my man. We were engaged! How could he marry someone else!” Chantilly wailed, a tear sliding down her cheek and cutting a path across a white icing smear.
Hopefully none of the weddings you’ve attended were like this one with the groom dead as Lincoln right there in his own cake.
What do you think is the best part of a wedding? The cake? The first dance? The saying I Do? What are your favorite wedding colors? Favorite locations…destination weddings, church weddings, garden weddings?
Let me know and I’ll give away two Killer in Crinoline tote bags from the answers.
image of wedding cake from Creative Commons/Janie Anderson
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 4 2013, 12:08 am in Donna MacMeans, fragrance, perfume, scent, spring, The Trouble with Moonlight
Spring has FINALLY arrived in Columbus, Ohio – which means the scent of flowers in the air around the MacMeans household. When we landscaped the area around the front porch, we planned for fragrance. The bushes in the front with the white flowers are Carlesii Viburnum (For Game of Thrones lovers – hard to type that without thinking of dragons ), otherwise known as spiceflowers, and are extremely potent – so potent that we’ve discovered some people are allergic to the scent. We planted lilac bushes behind the wicker porch swing for privacy, but the lush full blooms pack a fragrance punch as well. In about a month the Korean lilac will bloom on the side of our house scenting the neighborhood with its multitude of blooms, followed by our Sweetbay Magnolia. The sweetbay is one of those trees that you can recognize the scent long before you actually spot the tree. I love the natural fragrance of spring.
(I tossed in the photo of our pink dogwood because it’s so beautiful. The rest of the side garden hasn’t filled in yet, but love the dark pink.)
A friend was over the other day and offered me some lily of the valley starts from her garden. Her offer made me think of the perfume I wore as a preteen – Muguet Des Bois. Do you remember that one? I just checked and it’s still being sold. Eventually I migrated to Chantilly, the fragrance immortilized by the big bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis. (Chantilly lace and a pretty face and a ponytail hanging down…) Have I got that song lodged in your head?
Women wore a signature perfume back in the day, but I have to admit – I don’t smell fragrances on women so much anymore. I know at conferences and in large meetings there’s a general plea not to wear a fragrance for fear of setting off one’s allergies. As I’m pretty much alone at home, I don’t apply a fragrance, though I have a ton of perfume bottles up in the bedroom. I used to wear Opium (that’s the tall bottle in the back) and Intimate. The bottles I still have are probably way past their expiration date.
I’ve been hanging onto a pretty blue bottle of Sun, Moon, Stars. You can see it in the photo. At one time it had a little gold globe as a cap. While it looks like there might be a little perfume left in the bottle – I just tried it and the spray just makes sucking noises. LOL I remember I bought this because – I loved the blue bottle – and it’s manufactured by K Lagerfeld. My husband has worn Lagerfeld colonge for years and I still love that fragrance.
The other two bottles in the photograph are fragrances my husband gave to me – not because of the scent – but because of the names. The modified cone shaped bottle is Per Donna by Tuscany. It’s a nice floral scent but florals don’t wear well on me. I prefer something more musky and exotic. The other is Dona which says it’s a pheromone perfume made of goji berry. I’m not sure what the pheromones are supposed to attract, but I doubt it’s anything but bugs. Can’t say I care for this scent at all. I googled goji berries and learned that they are also referred to as wolfberries. Maybe it’s best that I not wear this during the full moon. I keep it around because my husband gave it to me – but I don’t use it. If anything, in the spring and summer, I’ll spray on Savannah Garden by Crabtree and Evelyn. It’s light and I have alot of it – the true component behind fragrance use.
All this got me to thinking about my heroine’s scent. Have you ever noticed that in a romance, the heroine always has a unique scent? It’s like a mystical property. In my current book, The Whiskey Laird, my hero swears the heroine smells like honey. I got my inspiration from the bottle on the left. Yes – my niece told me about Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey (thank you Julie) and you can see the bottle is no longer full. It’s good stuff and the sweet honey bourbon fragrance seemed to suit my heroine, so I borrowed it – sort of. Couldn’t very well use the bourbon reference for a woman involved in the temperance movement – so I shortened it to honey. Now only you and I know the true story.
But I’m curious about you, dear readers. Do you have a signature fragrance? Do you wear a fragrance daily or only for special occasions? Do you have any favorites that inspire memories (or song lyrics)? Is there a memorable heroine that you recall with a special scent? Do you prefer a floral, citrusy, or musky scent? And how about the dh? Any special fragrance choices there? Father’s Day, after all, is only a month away. (I always give my husband a new bottle of Lagerfeld every gift-giving holiday. I probably wouldn’t recognize him if he wore anything else). Let’s talk scents. In honor of my blue bottle of Sun, Moon, Stars, I’ll send someone a copy of the award-winning The Trouble with Moonlight. This was a Romantic Times Top Pick and winner of their Historical Love and Laughter award – and is currently out-of-print. If I recall – Lusinda, the heroine, smelled like moonflowers – those flowers that open up in moonlight. Yes, I was into all things celestrial when I wrote that book. Let’s chat fragrance.
Speaking of prizes, don’t forget we give away a fabulous bundle of books every month that includes new releases donated by our guest authors. To be eligible to win, you must be on our newsletter mailing list. Do you do that? Look for the box on the right that says “Become a Bandita Buddy.” It’s located right above the calendar of upcoming posts. Don’t miss out!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Apr 24 2013, 11:45 pm in Donna MacMeans, Hall of Fame, Laws of Attraction
Hall of Fame
The winner of a copy of THE CASANOVA CODE is Connie Fischer and her nominee Donni Ciaschini. Connie if you could go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and send your contact info and Donni’s contact info – I’ll send her a gift-wrapped book with a nice card explaining why she’s received this autographed book. Plus I’ll send you a book if you like – let me know.
Laws of Attraction
My apologies for announcing the winner so late. The blog fell at the height of tax season and I just couldn’t summon the resources to choose a winner. BUT the winner of a copy of THE CASANOVA CODE is
Becke – please go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and send me your contact info and I promise to get the book out much faster than I did choosing a winner! :-)
Posted by Donna MacMeans Apr 23 2013, 12:57 am in Donna MacMeans, family, friends, Hall of Fame
I know I’ve talked in the past about how my high school has been turned into…well…something else. All that is left of Greenhills High School is a room of memorabilia in the community center. However, all those decades of students haven’t forgotten their high school days and the alumni association is still active. Every year they have a dinner and induct new member into their Hall of Fame – which is actually a wall in the said room of memorabilia.
Last September I attended a football game at University of Cincinnati where my brother was honored as a retired Major General in the Army reserve. I figured if a University would recognize his military accomplishments, maybe a high school would as well. So as soon as I got home I wrote a few paragraphs to nominate my brother Dennis for a place on the Greenhills High School Hall of Fame . That’s his military photo down a bit on the right.
Anyway, I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago from the head of the nomination committee. He said the board unamimously agreed to accept Dennis’s nomination. He asked, “did you tell your brother that he’d been nominated?”
Me – “No. What would I say if you didn’t accept him. ’Hey Bro – I nominated you for the Hall of Fame and you got rejected’?”
So they called him in New York and left a message as he and his wife were traveling across country visiting kids and grandkids. I knew the day they got home as I got this email.
Dennis: ”I just got a letter from the Greenhills Alumni Association (didn’t know there was such a thing).
They want to induct me into the Greenhills High School Hall of Fame. The ceremony is in July. I am thinking I might accept (not often one gets inducted into a Hall of Fame, especially one from a school that hasn’t been a high school in quite some time). So we might be coming back down to Cincinnati in July.”
That was the first email. I got one about an hour later that said something like – “What! You nominated me?” LOL . I reminded him that before he got a swelled head that he’d still be staying in my basement on an oncoming visit. (I do have a finished basement with a separate bath and a comfortable sofa bed – just so you know I wasn’t tossing him in a dungeon).
The photo to the left is Dennis when he was 13 -14 ish.
My brother and his wife were just here this weekend after traveling home from an out-of-town wedding. He thanked me for the nomination and was genuinely pleased, which in turn pleased me as it was such a simple thing to write a couple of paragraphs and send them on. One of the things we talked about while he was here was how you lose friends and even family members if you don’t make the effort to keep in touch and visit every now and then. People drift off, become swamped by their own lives and soon – you lose connections. It’s one of the reasons we ask everyone to join our members only group so we can touch base and keep our connections. Heaven knows – we don’t want to lose you.
So today I thought I’d give you all an opportunity to nominate someone for your own personal Hall of Fame. It can be a friend or family member. Just tell us why they should have their photo up on your wall of fame. If your nominee is a romance reader, let me know and I’ll pick one and send them a copy of The Casanova Code. You too, if you like.
Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 23 2013, 12:32 am in Attraction, Donna MacMeans, Dr. Helen Fisher, Match.com, Romance
I heard about a survey the other day and wondered if you all had seen it too.
Match.com conducted a survey that included approximately 5,500 single men and women and 1,000 married men and women. The results were both fun and interesting.
For example, to the question “what do singles want?” The answers were:
2. Someone they can trust and confide in
3. Makes me laugh
4. Physically attractive
Now aren’t those pretty much the same qualities that readers cited when asked about the qualities of a hero? Thought this was interesting.
The questionnaire was designed to look at singles’s desires and dating habits. One question was designed to see qualities a man might have that would make him attractive to women, and conversely what qualities a woman should possess to be attractive to a man. The results – at least the first two highest ranked responses – were similar. Women judge men by their teeth (70%) and their grammar (69%). I figure basically women are looking at hygiene and education, although the Phd that ran the survey said good teeth were a measure of fertility. Hmmm….have to ponder that one. The third quality was clothes (58%), I’m thinking that’s a way women can quickly judge economic and cultural status, and fourth was the guy’s car (24%) – definite economic status.
As to what men look for in women, #1 was also good teeth, although by a smaller margin (58%). Grammar was also second – again by a smaller margin (55%). The men looked for good hair (51%) which I could buy as an indication of health and fertility. I wonder, though, what exactly constitutes “good hair”? Is it an attractive cut? Long and bouncy? I’m guessing it’s not long, grey or greying . Is it hair that is multicolored? just curious.
I like this next statistic because it’s such a change from previous years. 90% of the singles open to marriage believe they can stay married to the same person forever. The previous year, 2011, this percentage was only 78% and the year before that 76%. Of the married individuals in the survey, 80% say they would marry the same spouse again (awwww). The only thing married spouses miss is having an independent schedule. Yeah – a spouse and kids will mess with independent everything But isn’t it sweet that it’s no longer assumed that every marriage will end in divorce? That was the mindset when I married back in the 70s. Good to see this changing.
The belief in love at first sight is growing – 56% in 2012, 54% in 2011 versus 41% in 2010. I would say this is the result of romance novels, but I was surprised to learn that more men (61%) than women (51%) believe in love at first sight. In fact, the Phd running the survey mentioned that overall men were more romantic than women. No kidding! If that’s true, I think they keep it well-hidden. I shouldn’t say that. My recent Cancun trip was because the dh wanted to be somewhere warm and romantic on Valentine’s Day. The photo is from our hotel room in Cancun.
Finally, I enjoyed the conclusions drawn by a series of questions that the older one gets, the happier they become. Up until the age of 60, only 20% of the population sample identified themselves as “very happy.” Of the group aged 61-70, 37% said they were very happy. The percentage jumps to 44% for those aged 70+. I have this very encouraging and yeah, I’d place myself in the very happy overall category.
You can read the full results of the survey here: http://blog.match.com/2013/02/11/dr-helen-fishers-singles-in-america-presentation/ After the power point slides, there’s a video clip of the actual presentation of results but it’s a little hard to hear over the sound of a coffee barista at work (or maybe it was a bartender – can’t tell). I’ve just mentioned the highlights I thought most intriguing.
So what do you think? What’s the first thing you notice in a guy (or gal) that interests you? Do you think the laws of attraction have changed ov er the years? Or is this pretty much the same as the past? If you had it to do all over again, would you go about things in the same way? Hey – someone will win a copy of Casanova Code, because that’s what “very happy” people do . Let’s chat
Posted by Joan Kayse Dec 25 2012, 11:30 pm in Bandita Booty, Donna MacMeans, Joan Kayse
The Winner of the Rooster Mug/Saucer and Starbucks coffee is awarded by JoJo Kittel and company to…….
(Elf roll please…er, yeah)
Deb, send your information to Joanie through her writing cave and the master elf will get it out to you!
The winner of an Celtic Christmas ornament, a rooster ornament or dragon cookie cutter, a sugar cookie mix and a copy of CASANOVA CODE from the tenth day of Christmas is
Lianne, please visit www.DonnaMacMeans.com and send me your contact information. I’ll get that out ASAP
I hope everyone had a fabulous New Year. Now on to get ready to welcome 2013!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Dec 23 2012, 1:56 am in 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, Christmas cards, Donna MacMeans
Only a few days left till Christmas Day, so how ‘re you doing?
Tree up and decorated? check
Christmas gifts purchased? check
Presents wrapped? check
Cookies, candies, cakes made? check
Christmas cards mailed? oh crap…
Of all the Christmas preparations, signing and mailing Christmas cards is one of my least favorite things. I love to receive Christmas cards but sending them out is something else. First, there’s the choosing of the card. Should one go religious, cute, sparkly…? Have to admit, I like the sparkly . Then there’s signing them all and tracking down mailing addresses. It’s a wonder any go out.
The first commercial Christmas card was produced in England in 1843. That’s it on the right. Commercially produced cards didn’t take hold in America till 1875. They’ve varied in popularity over the years but I think the current trend is heading down. According to Wikipedia, American households received an estimated 29 Christmas cards in 1987. This number dropped to 20 in 2004. I’d bet it’s even lower now. Postage costs and lack of time have taken a toll. Sometimes, just signing one’s name over and over is a bit of a chore. (sigh)
But receiving them is pure joy!
I’ve seen fancy boxes in which to keep Christmas cards, but I like to hang mine on the doors in the kitchen. That way I get to look at them frequently, rereading the messages inside, revisiting the pictures of the newest family members again and again. (I must be doing better that the average Joe as I’ve recieved 33 cards thus far this year. This number doesn’t include the number of cards that will show up AFTER Christmas
I like the photo cards. Sometimes this is the only way I get to see how the kids are growing each year. Have you noticed how photo cards generally only come from people with small kids? I don’t get many from seniors with a “see how we’ve aged” photo.
Let me give a shout out to my international friends who sent season’s greetings over such a far distance. Although I don’t save stamps, I like to see the postal stamps from different countries and how different countries depict Christmas. Here’s a card from Australia where the temperatures are decidedly different from the snow and ice here. If this card was to represent the climate in Columbus, Santa would be blue and the wave would be white.
Hats off to all those who sent handmade Christmas cards. Those are indeed the most creative. Heck, I have difficulty getting the storebought cards signed, addressed and mailed to family, friends, and clients. But I do appreciate that someone took the time to make the card to send to me.
By far, the most unique card I receive each year comes from my best friend in high school. She’s a talented artist who has traveled extensively in India. Every year she has Christmas cards made from her artwork. Hmmm….maybe I should do this with my book covers? After all, the heroine on the cover of Redeeming the Rogue is wearing a green dress. And what conveys the spirit of peace and love than a torrid kiss . My friend’s painting this year is titled “Miss Ohio.”
Have you noticed an increase in computer cards this year? Some of those are really impressive and I love the animation. I certainly can understand the convenience and postage savings of a digital card, but I can’t put them up on my door Bummer.
So how about you? Are you a Christmas card person? My niece from Oklahoma is here with me and she’s shaking her head no. With two little ones she says she doesn’t have the time to send them out. I think I’d probably live in a year round world of guilt if I received cards and didn’t send any out. But that’s me.
Do you have a preference for traditional or digital cards either sent or received? Do you prefer religious cards or just festive ones? Are you one to read a long Christmas letter? I like to read them but I’ve never written one. Let’s chat and share some season’s greetings.
As we’re approaching the end of our 12 Days of Bandita Christmas celebration, be sure to comment to be eligible for our daily Bandita prize as well as our SUPER-DUPER GRAND prize giveaway Christmas Day. There’s enough books in that prize package to fill Santa’s sleigh! For today’s giveaway, I’ll add a Celtic Christmas ornament and a copy of The Casanova Code to the 12 days prize of a rooster ornament or a dragon cookie cutter and a sugar cookie mix.
Speaking of munchies – here’s an easy appetizer to make for your holiday celebration
2 (8 0z) cream cheese
1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing (I use the Buttermilk package)
2-3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 small can sliced black olives (diced)
4 to 6 – 12″ soft flour tortillas
Mix the first three ingredients and then spread on the tortilla shells. Sprinkle the other ingredients on top. Roll the tortilla up into a cylinder. Wrap in saran wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. Slice and serve (the ends I sacrifice to the chef).
Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 25 2012, 11:45 pm in Advent calendars, Big Countdown, Donna MacMeans
The winner of a Jacquie Lawson advent calendar is… HOLLIE R !!!
Hollie – I need your email address to send the advent calendar and I’ll send it right out. It kicks in on December 1at. Enjoy!
Thanks everyone for setting aside your shopping on Friday for a little bit to chat with me. Hope you all have a great Holiday season and if it gets too stressful…don’t forget about that whiskey-a-day calendar
Posted by Donna MacMeans Sep 24 2012, 11:45 pm in 50 Shades of Grey, Bandita Booty, Donna MacMeans
The winner of the Fifty Shades of Oh My! blog post is….Emma Jay!
Emma – Please go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and send my your contact information and your choice of either Redeeming the Rogue or The Casanova Code as a choice of prize. I’ll send out your book pronto!
Everyone – for another chance at some great prizes, you might want to enter the Fabulous Facebook Fan Page Promotion. Just go to my Fan page on Facebook (Donna MacMeans, Author)
“Like” my page, then click on the little Romance Bandits box. Enter your name and email so we can contact you if you win a prize but – important - you must “like” the fan pages of the seven other people in the promotion in order to be eligible for a prize. After you enter your email info, a box with photographs will pop up. Just click on the photographs to take you instantly to the other fan pages. Don’t forget, you have to like them all. Fortunately, they’re all really good romance writers.
This week’s prize is a Karma Cafe basket of goodies from talented Tawny Weber. Once you’ve entered – you’re entered for the remaining seven weeks of the promotion. Good Luck!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Aug 23 2012, 12:06 am in Debbie Macomber, Donna MacMeans, perseverance, The Inn at Rose Harbor
I had the best time Tuesday night. Debbie Macomber came to Columbus to speak to a sold-out crowd of fans and I got to go! Woohoo!
Here’s a little known fact – my books are always shelved right next to Debbie Macomber’s. Actually, it’s the way I find my books. I look for her shelves and shelves, go to the beginning of her list – and find maybe one or two of my books. At the RWA literacy signing, authors are seated alphabetically. If Debbie weren’t so popular, I’d be sitting next to her. However, as it is, she gets her own separate table when she participates, and that’s sort of a bummer for me because she’s a hoot. Here’s the two of us at the signing.
I laughed and laughed at her stories. She mentioned that she’s a natural storyteller and I believe it. I also think she might have a bit of a stand-up comedienne in there as well. Her comic timing was excellent.
She shared a number of inspirational stories about her writing, her faith, and her determination to publish stories when everyone around her said she’d never succeed. One particular poignant story was when she scrimped and saved to go to a writers conference. An editor had asked for submissions and selected ten manuscripts to use in their presentation. Debbie was one of the ones selected. She was sure that this was a sign that after all her years of hard work, she would finally sell one of her stories. She was given a star to wear on her nametag to mark her as one of the chosen ones – and she was so proud to wear that star. When it was time for the workshop, the editor said that one of the manuscripts was so excellent, she was prepared to offer for it right there and then. Debbie said she had to restrain herself from raising her hand and accept the congratulations of all those around her. But alas – the editor was referring to someone else. Instead she used Debbie’s manuscript for ridicule and to laugh about improbable premises. Ready to crawl away unnoticed, Debbie still went up to the editor to offer to fix whatever the editor felt needed to be fixed. But the editor put her hand on Debbie’s arm and said, “Just throw it away.” OMG! I could feel her heartbreak. I think every published author has had a similar moment when a more sane person would have just walked away. Yet we shoulder the rejections and try again and again and again.
Debbie was there to sign her latest release, The Inn at Rose Harbor. While it starts a new series, the inn is located in Cedar Cove – the site of many of her earlier books. She assured the audience that some of the characters from her previous series will drop in this one as well.
At writing events, Debbie has always stressed “value-added” purchases. In this case, she gave everyone who asked her to sign a book a pin with the title of her new book. While I can’t give you the book itself (see-it’s mine. Autographed and everything! ), I’m happy to send someone the pin along with one of my books. See you get a little bit of something from the both of us. (Here’s a photo of the pin – and Debbie’s autograph.)
Just tell me which author you’d like to spend an evening with…or if you’re a fan of Debbie Macomber, which of her books is your favorite. Or if you’re a writer, do you have a story where you had to buck it up and persevere? Mine came right before I sold – isn’t that the way.
And because a friend on Facebook tells me it’s Black Cat Appreciation Weekend. Thought I’d share a photo of mine. Okay – so let’s talk.