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10 Tips for Landing A Killer Job by Michelle Frances

 

A New Year means a new you, isn’t that how the saying goes? In that spirit here are Emma Fox’s tips for landing that killer new job, but beware, just like that dream job description…not everything is as it seems.

  • Have a read over your resume – maybe it needs a little ‘updating’?
  • Check out the person who’s interviewing you on Google: you’ll be amazed at what you might find out about their previous performance – professional of course.
  • It might be useful to add a few details online of your own – charity work anyone?
  • Get to the interview early: it’s always healthy to size up the competition.
  • It’s really not your fault if you accidentally trip and spill your coffee down their smart suit.
  • Or if your post-grad at Harvard just ‘happens’ to come up in conversation.
  • Always scope out your work team beforehand – sing their praises HIGH. Hallelujah!
  • Don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes to stand out.
  • Smile and make eye contact. Ignore the voice in your head that’s saying: ‘Give me this job or you’ll live to regret it.’  That’s not you.
  • Hold back on some of that persuasive dynamism. Now it’s time for the salary negotiation…

Continue reading “10 Tips for Landing A Killer Job by Michelle Frances”

Murder at the Marina Cover Reveal & Excerpt

In the fifth installment in Janet Finsilver’s cozy mystery series, Kelly Jackson’s got to solve this murder—or her friends are sunk . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is fond of the Doblinsky brothers, Ivan and Rudy, members of the Silver Sentinels, a crew of crime-solving senior citizens in their Northern California seaside hamlet. After she discovers a jewel-encrusted dagger—with what appears to be dried blood on the blade—on their fishing boat, they share their family history with Kelly, and she learns that the knife may be part of a set from their long-ago childhood in Russia. Its sudden reappearance is eerie, but the mystery grows much more serious when a body is found on the boat. The victim was staying at Kelly’s inn, in town for a Russian Heritage Festival, and some of the organizers were clearly harboring some bitterness. But the story behind this murder seems as layered as a nesting doll—and Kelly’s feeling completely at sea . . .

Excerpt from Chapter 1

I looked at my watch and saw I was early but decided to see if the brothers had already arrived. They had given me directions, but what was crystal clear to them had me a little confused. I walked in the general direction of where I thought I was supposed to go, aware of the slight smell of fish.

I spied a man in baggy denim bib overalls wearing a dusty black Giants baseball cap, his gray hair curled up over its sides. He basked in the sun outside a small bait shop in a rocking chair. Fishing nets and tackle equipment hung on the building’s gray boards. Handwritten signs advertising live sardines and bait shrimp were tacked on the wall. An old, personalized fluorescent clock declared it to be Tim’s Place.

I approached him. “Hi, I’m Kelly Jackson.” I smiled. “Are you Tim?”

“Nope. He ain’t here no more. Done moved on. I’m Joe.” The missing front tooth didn’t mar the congeniality in his voice.

“I’m here to meet the Doblinsky brothers at their boat, Nadia. I’m wondering if you could help me with directions.”

“Sure. Glad to.” He pointed an arthritic finger in the direction of a gate. “Walk on through there. It ain’t locked right now. The boat’s down apiece on the left.”

A few minutes later, I stood in front of a large white vessel with black trim. Nadia in large bold black letters on the bow assured me I’d found what I’d been seeking.

“Rudy…Ivan…are you here?” I called out.

I didn’t get a response and decided to knock on the cabin door. I grabbed the metal rails next to an opening and boarded the boat. My knock brought no response. I could clearly see into the galley below. A tidy compact kitchen, a boothed dining area, and a small table filled the area. A living room with built-in couches along both sides of the wall occupied the right side. The dining table was in clear view, with a shaft of sunlight illuminating it. I caught a glimpse of a multicolored object sparkling in the sun’s bright light at the table’s edge. I stepped a little to the side and craned my neck to see better.

What I saw was the hilt of a dagger.

The handle glinted in the sun, but the curved blade didn’t shine like the rest of it.

A dull, rust-colored material covered the metal…the color of dried blood.

The cold hand of fear squeezed my heart.

About the Author

Janet Finsilver and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Ellie, a boxer/coonhound mix. Janet enjoys horseback riding, snow skiing, and cooking. She is currently working on her next Redwood Cove mystery. Readers can visit her website at www.JanetFinsilver.com.

On the Brink by Jane Feather

Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 ushered in a new era for women and their place at all levels of British society. Our three heroines, Diana Sommerville, the Honorable Fenella Grantley, and Petra Rutherford, privileged young women in their early twenties, emerge from the constraints of the previous era already benefitting from the many small political reforms that had been made by Parliament during Victoria’s reign.

The question of women’s suffrage was the dominant political issue of the time. Despite the fact that many aristocratic gentlemen relied on their wives to stand at their sides while they canvassed for parliamentary votes, to support and fight for their candidacies, to court the people of influence to advance a political position and to remain the smiling hostess at endless political dinners, the idea of their helpmeet actually voting herself remained unthinkable.

Diana, Fenella and Petra’s close friendship grew from the tedious years they spent at an academy for young ladies in Hampstead. The curriculum was designed to turn the daughters of the gentry into debutantes with one ambition, to find a suitable husband during their first Season after their presentation at court. But the three young women share a streak of rebellion that their friendship fosters. They are sufficiently unconventional to draw a degree of disapproval from society’s matrons, but they’re also skilled at skating on thin ice and manage, with each other’s help, to avoid causing any out and out scandals. Continue reading “On the Brink by Jane Feather”

Start Your Engines, er, Memorabilia by J.C. Kenney

Hi, folks! I hope you’re having a great day. I’m so happy to be here with you all today, at Hobby Reads, chatting about things that make us happy.

As a writer of murder mysteries, I spend an awful lot of time at my keyboard examining the dark side of humanity. If that sounds a touch creepy, you don’t want to look at my browser history. It’s all book research. Promise! So, today, instead of chatting about investigating bad guys, I want to share with you one of the things I like to do in my free time.

I’m a big fan of IndyCar racing. Growing up in Indianapolis, my love affair with motorsports began at an early age when my dad would take my brothers and me to the Motor Speedway to watch qualifications for the Indy 500. I attended my first race at age eleven and have never lost the thrill of watching cars racing mere inches from each other at over two hundred miles per hour.

That long-standing love affair with Indy-style racing has led to one of my favorite pastimes, collecting racing memorabilia. A lot of that is because the drivers in IndyCar are really accessible to the fans. Here’s one of my favorite pieces.

This is a mini-helmet signed by Pippa Mann. In addition to being a great driver, Pippa spends a great deal of time and energy supporting breast cancer awareness initiatives. In fact, she wears a pink helmet as a sign of her commitment to the fight against breast cancer. Pippa signed this beauty for me at an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Another great thing about collecting IndyCar memorabilia is the way the drivers go to such lengths to sign things for fans at the race track, like these hero cards I got at the 2017 race in St. Louis.

It was pretty cool to score a hero card signed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the Indy 500 in 2014. Then Josef Newgarden, who won the race that night and went on to claim the 2017 IndyCar season championship, signed one for me. I even gota card autographed by the one and only James Hinchcliffe, who is a multiple race winner, and came in second on Dancing with the Stars a few years ago. Yeah, was a great day.

I’ve added a lot of other fun things to my collection over the years. The final one I’ll share with you today is this photo print.

Taken by photographer Kate Shoup, it features car owner Dale Coyne hugging driver Sebastian Bourdais after Seb won the 2017 St. Petersburg race. Both men were kind enough to sign the print, which I won in a silent auction put on by Pippa Mann to raise funds for her breast cancer fighting efforts.

To me, IndyCar is one of the coolest things around. Being able to hold onto some of it by collecting memorabilia is really special. And a lot of fun.

So how about you? What do you like to do for fun? Are you a collector, like me, or are you into something else? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you. And until next time, wishing you blue skies and warm breezes!

 

 

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert. . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

Inside The Collection by Fiona Cummins

In a corner of London known as Lincoln’s Inn Fields, opposite a pretty tree-lined square, lies a museum.

It’s a quiet sort of a place. It’s not well-known, like the Natural History Museum or the V&A. It’s nestled within the Royal College of Surgeons and it’s staffed by eminent consultants who have retired from the rigours of the operating table.

This museum – known as The Hunterian – is a dark sort of a place too. It’s filled with grim treasures: the preserved remains of quintuplets floating in a jar; the teeth of soldiers lost of the battlefields of Waterloo; a syphilitic woman’s prosthetic nose. A centrepiece of its collection is the malformed skeleton of a man known only as ‘Mr Jeffs, aged 39.’

Mr Jeffs suffered from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), otherwise known as Stone Man Syndrome. The tragedy of this condition is that sufferers find themselves imprisoned in a second skeleton of bone, and it was this exhibit that inspired the macabre museum of medical  grotesqueries in my debut novel Rattle and its sequel, The Collector.

The antagonist of my books – a psychopath known by many names including Ol’ Bloody Bones, The Night Man, The Bone Collector, Brian Howley and Mr Silver – is compelled to continue the traditions of his forefathers. In his father’s house, he houses his own ‘specimens’ – specially chosen victims who each have some kind of bone deformity.

The Bone Collector prepares his specimens in the same careful way a museum curator might do. He employs the same type of beetle once used  by the Natural History Museum to clean the flesh from their bones. He is careful to ensure that sinews are left intact so the skeletons still hang together. Continue reading “Inside The Collection by Fiona Cummins”

Messages For Your Bookish Valentine by Michelle Frances

Messages For Your Bookish Valentine

Valentine’s Day is one of those specials days of the year where you can express your love openly, and loudly, for the world to see. If you’re like me, you might have an obsession with those little Valentine’s cards and their adorable messages. Even if you don’t, I hope you take a minute to share a sweet note for the people you love, and don’t forget—friendships deserve love notes too!

So here are a few quick and fun messages you can send to your bookish Valentine this year:

  • Dear Valentine, like a good book, I just can’t take my eyes off you.
  • Dear Valentine, you have the longevity of a classic and the intoxication of a thriller.
  • Valentine, like a good book I don’t want this to end.
  • Valentine, you’re more than a good front cover.

And, of course, I couldn’t resist turning an old classic on its head:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
A good book is a gem
And so are you. Continue reading “Messages For Your Bookish Valentine by Michelle Frances”

“Auld Lang Syne”– New Year’s Celebrations in Britain by Jenna Jaxon

The coming of the New Year has been celebrated since well into antiquity, but never has it been so well and truly celebrated than in the British Isles, especially during the Regency period. Many of the customs practiced in England, Scotland, and Ireland had roots in Ancient Rome (with the Saturnalia), Ancient Scandinavia, and Ancient Celtic cultures.

The New Year’s toast has its origins in the medieval period, when goblets were clinked liberally during the evening while wishing one another “Waes Hael” or “Be Well.” It was called a “toast” because pieces of toasted bread were put into the cups—like croutons—perhaps to enhance the flavor of the drink.

The Vikings celebrated the season of Yule—giving name to our Yule log for Christmas—which comprised what we now call “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Many of our New Year’s customs come from the Scottish celebration of Hogmanay. A bonfire is lit to represent several different things: the light of knowledge passing from one year to the next, the putting of darkness of the past behind you and carrying light forward to the future. Continue reading ““Auld Lang Syne”– New Year’s Celebrations in Britain by Jenna Jaxon”

Your Furry Valentine by V.M. Burns

Valentine’s Day is a time for lovers. Heart shaped boxes of candy, flowers and greeting cards abound during this time set aside to celebrate the ones we love, but let’s not forget to show love to our four-legged companions too. Our pets provide love, comfort and amusement all year and deserve a little love too. Dogs don’t appreciate flowers or greeting cards (at least mine don’t) and chocolate is poisonous to canines. However, the THREE T’s, will win your pet’s heart every time.

TREATS – Everyone loves getting a treat on special occasions. In THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, Lily Echosby and her canine companion, Aggie, start obedience training. Lily is instructed to bring treats that her dog will “sell her soul to get.” It may seem surprising, but not all treats are created equal. Carrots aren’t even in the same league as cookies in my book. For Valentine’s Day, kick things up a notch and swing by your local pet store and go for the good stuff. Or, better still, make your own. Baking dog biscuits can be surprisingly easy and your dogs will love them. Let’s face it, most dogs aren’t known for being particular and will eat just about anything. So, even if you’re not the world’s greatest chef, chances are good your dog will still eat whatever you bake.

TOYS – Like humans, most dogs enjoy toys. Whether it’s a new tennis ball for a retriever, or a new stuffed animal which has yet to be gutted and the squeaker removed. New toys can be a source of entertainment for your pet for anywhere from fifteen minutes to weeks, depending on the breed and the toughness of the toy. Similar to children who play with boxes rather than the toys that came in the box, dogs can be easily entertained without spending a ton of money. My poodle, Coco (Snickers in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series) enjoyed playing fetch for HOURS when she was a puppy. Continue reading “Your Furry Valentine by V.M. Burns”

Review of Claws For Celebration

mjbreviewers

Claws For Celebration
Cat Lady Mysteries, Book #3
Linda Reilly
5 Stars

Claws for Celebration (A Cat Lady Mystery Book 3) by [Reilly, Linda]Synopsis:

Feline deadly this Christmas . . .

Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, celebrates all things Christmas, and few things are more beloved than the town’s annual holiday cookie competition. Lara Caphart, who runs the High Cliff Shelter for Cats with her Aunt Fran, is waiting for the green light for a brand-new category: pet-friendly cookies. But when the woman filling in as a last-minute judge dies after sampling someone’s Santa-themed treat, Lara’s recipe for healthy cat snacks will have to be put on the back burner.

The victim, Gladys Plouffe, was the town’s roundly despised former home economics teacher. The chief suspect is the mother of Lara’s best friend, who was hellbent on walking away with the bake-off’s cash prize. Cryptic clues from beyond the grave only deepen the mystery, pointing to a cat with striking blue eyes—a…

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