Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Summer Walsh is Back!

Many years ago, I started writing a series of quirky cozy mysteries for Avalon Books featuring Summer Walsh a former detective who just happens to be in the right place at the right time (or is it the wrong place at the wrong time?) Rather than confuse people who enjoy romances and women's fiction by Debby Mayne, I chose to write these mysteries under my maiden name, Deborah Tisdale.

The first book in the series, Corpse on the Court, opens with Summer taking some time to regroup after leaving the Nashville Police Department, and what better place to rest and relax than her uncle's resort retirement community in Florida? However, her plans were shelved on the day she arrived, and her detective instincts kicked in. When her uncle was accused of murdering someone in his retirement community in the first book of the series, she knew he couldn't possibly have done it. After all, her sweet and clueless uncle didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was a ladies' man who left a trail of broken hearts, but he would never have resorted to murder.

This story got mixed reviews, but the people who liked it really liked it - mostly because they fell in love with the characters. There are plenty of other, more serious murder mysteries available for those who don't enjoy the lighter side of detective work.

Just a few years ago, Amazon purchased Avalon's backlist, and they placed Corpse on the Court in their Thomas and Mercer imprint, making it available to anyone who owns a Kindle or downloads the app. I've heard from readers who said they loved my quirky characters, and they wondered when my next Summer Walsh book would release. I'm happy to say that day has finally come! Late last year, I published Murder Under the Mistletoe, a slightly shorter mystery set in a Charleston, South Carolina, B&B.

I had a blast getting back into this series and reuniting with Summer who is often the only sane person the room. Now I'm happy to say that I just finished writing Summer's next book, Gun in the Garden. I'll post a link here once it's available to order.

My future Summer Walsh books will be long novellas and short novels, depending on how long it takes Summer to solve each case. I hope you fall in love with these stories and enjoy reading them as much as I do writing them! Here are links to the first two Summer Walsh books so you can get started.

Order here: Corpse on the Court

Order here: Murder Under the Mistletoe

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thinking About Christmas Already

Yeah, you read that right. I've been thinking about Christmas. I love the fact that we're now closer to our daughters and their families here in South Carolina, so celebrating the holidays will be much more fun and less stressful!

Another thing that makes me happy is a good Christmas story. I've written books and novellas set during the holidays, and now I'm happy to announce that I got the rights back to one of those novellas. So I had a professional cover made, added an epilogue to the story, and made it available on Amazon.

So here it is, y'all! Silver Bells is a story about a "mature" woman who falls in love with her late husband's best friend. She doesn't have the cooperation from all of her adult children. Will these two people be able to find happiness during the holidays?

Here's the cover and a link to it on Amazon:

Click to order: Silver Bells

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Current Addiction

I'm finally admitting my addiction. For the past several years, I've been watching various shows on HGTV. At first, I had the excuse that it provided great entertainment and gave me some ideas for how to improve our living space. Then once I started watching "Property Brothers," things got intense. I couldn't get enough of them or other shows that showed how to take a hideous living room and turn it into an oasis that would make any homeowner proud.

My addiction really came to light over the past week when I got sick. As I lay in bed coughing and sneezing, I found myself reaching for the remote so I could watch the latest "Property Brothers" … or "House Hunters" … or "Fixer Upper" (such a cute couple, Jo-Jo and Chip) … or "Flip or Flop" with Tarek and Christina who buy distressed houses and turn them into palaces … or whatever else happened to be on. I even watched reruns that I'd already seen once or twice or more.

I like "Love It or List It," but I admit I enjoy "Love It or List It Too" even more because I remember and admire Jillian from "The Bachelorette." I haven't seen "Buying and Selling," but with identical twins Drew and Jonathan Scott starring in it, how can I not love it?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Healthful Eating and Fun Reading

I'm a foodie. I love almost all foods, especially if it's heavily seasoned and fresh. Most of my favorite foods are ethnic, with Indian, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, and Cajun being at the top of the list.

Something else that's important to me is to consume as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly can each day, which is one of the reasons I love to make smoothies. When I make them for myself, I don't worry about the color of the finished product. I just toss a bunch of fresh and frozen fruits and veggies into my blender or NutriBullet, add a little liquid (almond milk, coconut water, or fruit juice), and pulverize it so I can drink it on the run.

Here's an example of a smoothie recipe that's packed with nutrients:
  • 1 cup raw organic kale
  • 1/2 cup raw organic baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup raw organic cauliflower
  • 4 large frozen organic mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup coconut water

Blend on high until the consistency is smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Delicious red smoothie
Photo courtesy of Alvimann/

When I make smoothies for my husband, I try to stay with a color group - green, orange, red, or purple - to make it more appetizing. When I use kale, I'll add kiwi and pineapple for a rich green color. For orange, I'll add carrots, peach slices, and apple juice. Red usually consists of strawberries, carrots, beets, and coconut water. For purple, I use blueberries, a small amount of kale, cauliflower, and grape juice.

Here are links to some other delicious recipes you might want to try:

While you're enjoying your smoothie, check out some of my books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can order them in paperback, or if you're eager to start reading, download them to your Kindle or Nook.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

School's Back in Session

Now that Labor Day is over, most kids are back in school. This can bring tons of joy to many parents and trepidation to others since not everyone knows what to expect. I have two granddaughters - one who entered kindergarten and the other who just started a 2-morning a week preschool. Both of them are sweet, friendly, smart girls, so they should be fine.

I'll never forget my very first day of school several decades ago. There was no such thing as kindergarten where I went, so I walked right into first grade. One of my grandmothers had already taught me some basic reading and math skills, and the other grandmother introduced me to a bunch of kids I'd be in school with. It turned out to be a good experience for me ... at least most of the time.

If your child is still nervous about school, it might have something to do with not knowing what is expected or how to act in the new environment. Here are some articles I'd like to recommend:

Social Skills for Children
Children's Table Manners
Making Friends Through Sports
School Phobia

If you don't find exactly what you're looking for in those articles, go to, click around a bit, and you'll probably get some answers.

Now that the children are in school, try to schedule some time for yourself. After all, you've given your family the best summer ever. One suggestion I'd like to make is to check out my Class Reunion series. If you want to read a quick introduction to the characters before diving into the longer books, I've uploaded a prequel on Amazon. Here's a link to order it from Amazon: Before the Class Reunion.

Piney Point High School's 5-year reunion invitations have just gone out. Learn about Priscilla who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in high school but dropped out of college to become a hairdresser. Tim has just graduated from college and has been given the opportunity to work for his uncle as a beauty salon supply salesman. Trudy's crown for being "Miss Everything" in Piney Point doesn't seem to do anything for her marriage. Celeste has always been a wallflower, and now she has to make her way on her own. Laura has never touched a drop of alcohol, but her husband certainly knows his way around a beer bottle. Will anyone want to go back and face their former classmates?

Here are the books in the series. If you'd like to order them, please click on the links below the cover images.

10-year reunion
Order from Amazon
15-year reunion
Order from Amazon
20-year reunion
Order from Amazon

Friday, August 29, 2014


I've been a romance and women's fiction writer for many years, but something that many people don't know is that I've also written a couple of mysteries. One of them, Corpse on the Court, was written under my maiden name Deborah Tisdale and was published by Avalon. The other was Theft and Thanksgiving, one book in a series written by a group of authors for Guideposts. We all wrote our books under the name Emily Thomas, and the series is called Secrets of the Blue Hill Library. Any of the books in this series can be ordered from the Guideposts website.

My first mystery was quite a bit of fun to write. I never saw myself as a mystery writer, but when my editor at Avalon challenged me to give it a try, I did. After a few (major) revisions, she accepted it and the book came out the following year. Former Nashville detective Summer Walsh is the main character in Corpse on the Court, and I've been thinking about following up with more books for a series. Here's a blurb about the first book:

When Summer Walsh, a former detective from Nashville, leaves the police force, she sees herself vacationing on the beach, teeing off at the golf course of her uncle's country club community, and knocking a few balls around on the tennis court. But that's not the way things work out when her uncle gets framed for the murder of an aging femme fatale who was found strangled on the tennis court.

Summer is called to service in the small coastal community called Gulfside, where the sun shines year-round and retirees play like children. The murder of Bonita Landry throws the whole town into a tailspin, creating suspicion in everyone. She has to endure listening to remarks about her uncle's love life, being chased on the causeway, and dealing with hostile witnesses. But Summer doesn't give up until she finds out who murderer is.

Order e-book at Amazon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Project

It seems like I'm always starting a new project. It might be something around the house, like decorating a room or designing my garden. Right now I'm getting started on One Foot Out the Door, the last of my three-book Uptown Belles series that's being published by Charisma House.

The first book, Dixie Belle, came out this past spring, and the second one, Trouble in Paradise, will release next spring. All three books are set (mostly) in New York City, and they feature heroines from the South who fall in love with big-city men. 

Here are the blurbs:

Dixie BelleCissy Hillwood needs to leave her Alabama hometown to escape her abusive boyfriend, so she accepts an offer to work for her Uncle Forest in New York City. Sparks fly when she meets Forest’s fiercest competitor, Tom Jenkins, but her uncle does not approve of their budding romance. Tom is a Christian at night and on weekends, but he seems to leave his faith at the door when he gets to work. Yet the more time he spends with Cissy, the more he begins to question and reevaluate his business ethics. As Cissy tries to keep her relationship with Tom a secret from her Uncle Forest, misunderstandings mount and conflicts arise, forcing Cissy to make a decision. Which should she choose: loyalty to her uncle or love for Tom?

Trouble in ParadiseCharlene Pickford finds herself in a pickle after landing the job of her dreams in New York City. Her boss might be attractive, but when it becomes obvious that he's hiding some deep, very dark secret, she feels an overwhelming urge to flee back to Georgia to help her parents … even though they've made it clear that they don't want her hovering. Will Charlene be able to make a decision that brings her peace?

One Foot Out the Door - Bethann Russell loses her job, so when her elderly aunt falls and breaks her hip, she’s the most logical family member to move up to New York to be the caretaker. When attorney Judd Baxter arrives to help Bethann’s aunt with her legal affairs, the attraction between him and Bethann is obvious. As Bethann gets to know Judd, she discovers part of his job is to handle the legal affairs of companies that downsize. This is too close to home for Bethann since she loved the job she lost, so she decides to return to Mississippi as soon as her aunt recovers. But her aunt has other ideas and makes matchmaking her new mission.
Order from:
Barnes and Noble

Friday, August 22, 2014

Making Friends on the Rail

My husband Wally and I decided to try something we've never done before. We rode Amtrak to visit our daughter and her family in North Carolina. The trip there was good and not too tiring because the layover in the small town of Wilson, NC, was short. However, the trip back involved a 3-1/2 layover in Wilson that made it an all-day adventure.

Something really cool happened while we were at the Wilson train station on the way there. We started talking to some of the other people who were waiting, and we met a woman who lives in our neighborhood. After chatting for a while, we learned that we were returning home on the same trains, so we exchanged phone numbers.

During our layover on the way home, our new friend and another woman who was traveling alone joined us for lunch at a small ice cream shop and deli across the street from the station. Our neighbor Vita and I plan to go for walks through the neighborhood and meet for an occasional cup of coffee or lunch. The other woman, Claire, was on vacation from her teaching job in England, so we exchanged emails.

I've ridden the subway in New York City, a train from Connecticut to New York, and the Bullet in Japan. And all of the experiences were different.

Here are some of my articles that relate to this trip:

More articles:

As exhausted as I was for a couple of days, I'm still glad that we chose to take the train because we met some nice new friends. Here are some pictures from our trip:

Red train car we saw from the window at one
of the many stops.
My attempt at a selfie during the train ride.
I obviously need practice. Or maybe next
time Wally can take the picture.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

End-of-Summer Hurrah

Now that it's almost time for the kids to go back to school, why not do one last summer-related thing? Do something fun that will create memories to get them through the year. You can go to a city you've never visited, head for the closest campsite, visit a local tourist attraction, or go to the beach and build sandcastles. Whatever you do, remember to take pictures and pick up at least one item to bring home to remind you of your end-of-summer hurrah.

Here are some etiquette tips to share with the family:

Before you leave for your little getaway, don't forget to download a book to your favorite e-reader. Here are a few of mine that make great summer reading:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thoughts About Loss

When I heard the news about Robin Williams yesterday, I felt like someone had knocked me over and kicked me in the chest. He was the funniest improvisational comedian I knew of. Yes, some of his humor was more risqué than I'm comfortable with, but he did enough other work that I was able to look past what I didn't care for.

Do you remember the first time you ever saw him? My first Robin Williams experience was when he was on the show "Mork and Mindy." I was instantly spellbound as was most of America. Who was this guy? He had the amazing ability to improvise and take a sort-of-funny situation to a whole new level. Although I never saw the man in person, over time, I felt as though I knew him. He was familiar. I knew what I was getting when I saw one of his movies or watched him on a talk show. I'm sad that he won't be around to create more great comedy, but at least we have him on film. He leaves behind a mountain of work that won't let us forget this brilliant man.

As we go through life, we all lose friends and family members, but it's never easy. People want to console us, and when our friends lose a loved one, we try to comfort them. As the etiquette writer for, people often ask me how to express sympathy. I've written quite a few articles regarding etiquette for funerals.

Here are some articles that might help if you aren't sure what to do or say after someone passes:

I've also selected some articles by other writers that you may want to read:

One of the things I plan to do over the next several weeks is celebrate the life of Robin Williams by watching some of my favorite movies he was in. Here are some I like:

  • Popeye
  • Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Hook
  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Dead Poets Society
  • The Birdcage
  • Good Will Hunting

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's Get Serious About Table Manners ... and Other Stuff

How many times have you been told to take your elbows off the table? And how many times have you told your children not to talk with their mouth full? These are messages that can be heard all over the country at dinnertime. It might seem as though the little ones aren't paying a bit of attention, but that's not the case. If you say something enough times, they'll eventually obey just to have some peace.

Here are some of my articles on mealtime manners:

Now check out some of my other favorite articles:

Have you read any of the books in my Class Reunion series? Here's a short introduction that's now available on Kindle for only 99¢: Before the Class Reunion: Prequel to the Class Reunion Series. You'll get to know Priscilla, Tim, Trudy, Celeste, and Laura as they receive their 5-year reunion invitations. The question is, will any of them attend?

Before the Class Reunion