Monthly Archives: June 2013

SUMMER: The Best Time to Fall in Love (with a Book Boyfriend)

Ladies, you know how much fun it is to read about hot guys in the summer and imagine yourself falling in love with them (and they with you, of course). Well, one of our crazier writer friends came up with this cool idea for a blockbuster summer book sale. A whole bunch of books with hunky heroes we can drool over, all in one place and all for just 99 cents!

Go to the site she set up and you can see little blurbs about the guys. Pick out a few you’d like to get to know and go for it. Even us old married ladies can participate. It’s not cheating if it’s just a fantasy, right?

Most of our misterio press authors are participating in this Fab Book Sale.

color banner

 

SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only. The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don’t wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!

Button_who is your book crush

 

Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don’t stop on one – after
all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.

* HAPPY READING * HAPPY SUMMER *

*Psst. Stop back later and tell us which guy you thought was the hottest.

The Mystery of the Ouija

I’m still playing the vagabond on my Tour of Fives blog tour (at K.B. Owen’s place tomorrow talking about 5 Reasons I’ve Come to Appreciate History). So we’re doing something special here today.

It’s Metaphysical Monday with Kirsten Weiss.

Take it away, Kirsten!

One of the things my metaphysical detective, Riga Hayworth, has not done to summon the dead is use a Ouija board. In my mystery novels, this is for practical reasons – Riga doesn’t have to summon the dead. They’re constantly underfoot.

But Ouijas are cool. (Unless you think they’re demonic; then they’re bad.)

It’s unclear where the name, “Ouija,” came from. Back in the 19th century era of spiritualism, mediums and table knocking were the rage. But contacting the departed was also complicated. Automatic writing often produced nonsense, and rapping for letters (one knock for A, two knocks for B…) took a boring amount of time.

Innovations resulted, such as a dial plate with numbers and letters set into a wooden table. These inventions grew in complexity. Even more elaborate devices, such as Robert Hare’s Spiritoscope, were developed to prevent fraud.

A Spiritoscope

A Spiritoscope

But you needed to be a professional, or obsessed, to afford one of these contraptions.

spiritoscopes used to catch fraudulent mediums

Spiritoscopes were designed to keep mediums honest, but they were expensive.

The early iteration of a Ouija board married the French invention of a planchette, used for automatic writing, with an alphabet board – a board with letters printed on it – to create the “talking board.”

a planchette

Planchette circa 1860’s (photo by Brandon Hodge, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The religious community reacted predictably to the spiritualist craze, labeling it necromancy. And technically, since any calling up of the dead is necromancy, they were right.

Perhaps that’s why in February, 1810, Charles Kennard and his Kennard Novelty Company patented the Ouija board – not as an occult item, but as a party game. This likely broadened its marketing appeal. But the board didn’t take off until the 1960s, when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the board, selling two million boards in 1967.

Ouija Board

I know psychics who swear Ouija boards are portals to hell, and refuse to keep them in the house. Others say they’re just paint and wood, and much like Tarot cards or any other tool, can be used responsibly, or not.

What do you think of Ouija boards? Did you play with them at sleepovers or Halloween parties when you were a kid?

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten is the author of the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery novels: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, and The Infernal Detective (click on the books in the carousel above to see more about them). Each book explores a different branch of magic. Book 5, tentatively titled The Elemental Detective, will explore Hawaiian magic and huna. She’s also working on a Steampunk YA mystery, which might just feature a steam-powered Spiritogram.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Five “Interesting” Delicacies From Around the World

A Japanese former student of my husband’s sent us some, uh, rather different candy recently. And then just a few days later one of my friends returned from a trip to China. As she was describing some of the delicacies she was served over there, the seed of an idea was planted in my head. Why not do a Tour of Fives post on disgusting unusual foods from around the world.

WARNING: Do not read this post right after a meal. However, if you are trying to lose weight, DO read this post right BEFORE a meal.

1.  So we will start our world tour in China, where my friend actually got up the nerve to eat one of these.

Scorpions on sticks to be deep-fried and enjoyedm (ick)

Beijing market (photo by Kilroy238 CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, those are scorpions on those sticks and when you purchase one, the vendor plunges it into hot grease to deep fry it. I did not have the nerve to ask her what it tasted like.

2.  One of our authors, JoAnn Bassett, just returned from a trip to Scotland. She shared this treat with us. The Scottish national dish is haggis, usually served with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes).

Haggis is made from all the parts of a butchered sheep that one would normally think of as, well, trash–the lungs, liver, heart, etc. All these little goodies are minced, then mixed with suet, oatmeal and seasonings. The whole kaboodle is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, then boiled for several hours. (Okay, I was good with this, having grown up on Scrapple up north, until she got to the sheep’s stomach part.) Haggis, neeps and tatties

Haggis, neeps and tatties (photo by Edinburgh blog, CC 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

                                                                                                     Scrapple (photo by Steamykitchen.com, CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)  And here’s Scrapple, the mid-Atlantic USA’s version of artery-clogging animal offal. It’s actually quite tasty with scrambled eggs.

(photo by Steamykitchen.com, CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

3.  The subject of sheep reminded our own Kirsten Weiss of a dish she encountered in Turkey–sheep’s heads. Turns out they are eaten all over the Middle East and also in Norway and Spain. Basically the whole sheep’s head is seared to get the hair off and then is either boiled, baked or grilled.

This is the least gross picture I could find–a baked version from Barcelona, Spain.

baked sheep's head on a plate

(photo by Diego Delso, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Kirsten said that in Turkey, the eyes are consider a particular delicacy.

Moving right along…

jar of pigs' feet

(photo by Geoff, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

4.  Shannon Esposito suggested we should include something American, so from the Southeastern USA – pickled pigs’ feet.

Here’s a link for the recipe, but it’s rather simple.

The pigs’ feet are boiled for awhile, then as many of the bones are removed as possible.

The whole thing is drowned in a vinegar brine to pickle them.

Seal them in a jar, and voila!

 

5.  Not to be outdone, our resident Texan, Catie Rhodes, suggested Rocky Mountain oysters. This delicacy does not come from any body of water, however.

Breaded and fried "mountain oysters," with lemon and sauce

(photo by Vincent Diamante, CC-BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons)

Looks delish, doesn’t it? Brace yourself! They’re bull testicles.

After all these wonderful dishes from around the globe, the candy that hubby’s student sent seems quite tame by comparison. From Japan, we have dessert, Green Tea KitKats!

box of Green Tea KitKats

These weren’t bad, once you got past the color.

What interesting, odd or downright disgusting foods have you encountered in your travels?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb, but this was a joint effort by several of our authors.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

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MY TOUR of FIVES — more bread crumbs…

 

wailing newborn with his grandmother

My newborn son (33.5 years ago) with my mother

UPDATE on my Tour of Fives. Today I’m talking about parenting over at Rhonda Hopkins’ place, 5 Things Every Parent Should Know. The discussion is hopping over there.

Wednesday I’m hanging out with the delightful Myndi Shafer, sharing 5 Things My Mother Used to Say (That I Didn’t Get at the Time).

And I know I’ve been neglecting our poor old blog over here at misterio press so I’m going to try to get a Just for Fun post up here on Friday on 5 Disgusting Interesting Things to Eat from Around the World.

Next Tuesday, 6/ 25, I’ll be over at Kathy Owen‘s place, talking about 5 Reasons I’ve Come to Appreciate History.

The end of that week, I have a super treat for you. A Summer Book Crush event where you can stock up for summer reading. All books participating in the event will be just $.99  Several of our mp authors are participating.

And I will culminate my Tour of Fives with a Mental Health Monday post on July 1st.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

My Tour of Fives–I’m leaving a trail of bread crumbs…

200px-Bundesstraße_5_number pub domain wiki.svgI’m playing the vagabond this month, on my Tour of Fives blog tour to celebrate my new book, COLLATERAL CASUALTIES, #5 in the Kate Huntington Mystery series.

Today’s stop is at Shannon Esposito’s place, talking about the 5 Reasons I Love Mysteries.

This Thursday, I’ll be Stacy Green’s guest on Thriller Thursday, discussing 5 Differences between Narcissists and Psychopaths… two big ‘bad guy’ favorites for us mystery and thriller writers. Then Friday, I’ll be delving into 5 Motives for Murder at Catie Rhodes‘ cyberhome.

For those of you who love me for my Mental Health posts, I’ll be talking about 5 Things Every Parent Should Know at Rhonda Hopkins‘ place next Monday. And then having some fun next Wednesday with the delightful Myndi Shafer and 5 Things My Mama Said (That I Really Didn’t Get at the Time).

More to come, and I will be stopping back home here periodically to say hi! *waves, then picks up backpack*

Kass

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

EMOTIONS 101: Two Simple Hints For Figuring Out What We’re Feeling

statue of children dancing

(photo by Andreas Praefcke, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia)

 

I’m doing my happy dance, because today is the official launch of the 5th book in my mystery series and this is the third installment in my Tour of Fives Blog Tour celebrating its release.I’ll be at Debra Eve’s Later Bloomers on Saturday explaining how I ended up an author so late in life, and Shannon Esposito’s cyberhome on Monday talking about why I love mysteries.

(The book’s on sale for $1.99 thru 6/12; just sayin’).

What are our basic emotions?

Guess what, we have FIVE of them!

Here are a couple simple ways we can get a hint as to what we are feeling in any given situation.

Hint 1:  Most human emotions (there are some exceptions) fit into five basic categories. Here’s a gimmick therapists use with clients who have trouble sorting out their feelings. When you’re not sure what you’re feeling, ask yourself if you feel MAD, SAD, GLAD, SCARED or BAD. (The first four are self-explanatory; bad refers to guilt and shame.)

Hint 2:  Emotions are made up of two components:  visceral, physical sensations, and our mind’s interpretation of those sensations based on the context.

These physical sensations are most often felt in our stomachs, chests, throats and eyes, and some of them can be related to different emotions. A clenched stomach may be mad, scared or bad (because there’s an element of scared in bad–more on this in a moment).

Tears welling in our eyes, or a stinging sensation when we’re resisting crying, can be related to any intense emotion, not just sadness. I cry when I’m angry (which is extremely frustrating; it’s hard to get the other person to take you seriously when you’re bawling like a baby). My mother, on the other hand, was grinning through her tears all the way through my wedding ceremony.

painting of Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene by Artiemisia Gentileschi

Other sensations are more unique to an individual emotion. A dry mouth or sweaty palms are most often associated with fear. A light, bubbly feeling in one’s chest would most definitely be some type of glad feeling.

Feeling a pain, tightness or a hollow feeling in one’s chest is so universal to sadness and grief that these emotions are often portrayed in art or on the stage by the person touching his/her chest. This is also most likely where the idea of a ‘broken heart’ came from.

Indeed, we often touch the area of our bodies where we are feeling intense emotions–clutching our throats when we’re afraid or our heads when they feel like they’re going to explode with anger or frustration.

The context matters a lot, even with these somewhat more specific sensations. John’s sweaty palms and dry mouth have a different connotation depending on whether he’s about to go into battle, propose to his girlfriend, or give an acceptance speech for an award. Our fear of this…

pacing tiger

 

 

 

is going to be different from our fear of this…

Navy sailors taking a test

(both photos, public domain, Wikimedia)

 

 

…even though the physical sensations may be similar (pounding heart, clenched stomach, lump in the throat).

It’s really helpful to get acquainted with what sensations you normally experience for any given emotion. This helps you sort out what you’re feeling more quickly. Which, in turn, helps you react more the way you want to react to situations (i.e., it gives you more control over how you express your emotions).

There’s a natural tendency for each person to experience their emotions more in certain parts of their bodies than in other parts. Some folks may experience most feelings in their stomachs, others more in their chests, etc. I’m a chest person myself: light and bubbly (happy), tightness (scared), outward pressure (anger), etc. Guilt/shame are the exception for me. These I usually feel as a sick feeling in my stomach and a lump in my throat.

Which brings me back to an earlier point. Shame and guilt, while they are definitely separate feelings from fear, originally derive from it. They are among what are called the self-conscious feelings and, unlike the other basic emotions, they don’t appear until the second year of life. Why?

Because we have to have a sense of ourselves as a separate entity from others before we can feel these feelings about ourselves. When we get it that we are a separate self (around 15-24 months), we begin to fear that our self will be rejected by others. This starts out as fear of punishment by our parents/teachers, slides into fear of their rejection and eventually is internalized as guilt. Once that happens, we will feel guilty even when nobody’s watching!

Shame, as I’ve discussed before, is when we feel not just that our behavior is wrong, but that our very being is not okay. (See these earlier posts for more about guilt and shame.)

Happily, there is one more self-conscious emotion: pride! This of course falls into the ‘glad’ category. That’s another chest one for me, as it is for a lot of people–a swelling sensation in the chest!

Naval Academy grads throwing hats in the air

U.S. Naval Academy graduation (public domain, Wikimedia)

These visceral sensations and their context are incredibly important to us writers. They help us show the reader what the characters are feeling. Which brings me to my book (you knew I’d go there eventually, didn’t you?)

Showing the characters’ feelings in this book, without having those emotions overwhelm the story, was particularly difficult. Kate Huntington and everyone near and dear to her are at risk. They are literally running for their lives, hiding out in various safe houses, as they try to figure out who is trying to kill them. She and her husband are particularly challenged to deal with their fears about losing each other.

And I’ll stop there before I spoil the story for you. Hope you’re intrigued enough to check it out below. Then please talk to me about all this. What sensations are most often associated with which feelings for you? Are you more a stomach or a chest person, or maybe a throat person?

book cover

When a former client reaches out to psychotherapist Kate Huntington and reveals a foreign diplomat’s dark secret, then dies of ‘natural causes’ just days later, Kate isn’t sure what to think. Was the man delusional or is she now privy to dangerous information?

Soon she discovers her client was totally sane… and he was murdered. Someone is now trying to eliminate her, and anyone and everyone she might have told. Forced into hiding, she and her husband, Skip, along with the operatives of his private investigating agency, struggle to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. Skip and his P.I. partner are good investigators, but this time they may be in over their heads… and they could all end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue.

This book is part of a series but is designed to work quite well as a stand-alone also. Now available on AMAZON and BARNES  & NOBLE  And ON SALE FOR $1.99 thru June 12th! (Goes up to $3.99 on 6/13)

Hey don’t run off yet. Please leave me a comment. I love comments! 😀

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.

MARYLAND, MY MARYLAND!

Animated-Flag-Maryland pub domain wikiI’m launching book 5 in my mystery series this Thursday, and to celebrate I’m doing a Tour of 5’s. I’ll be posting here and around the blogosphere this month, talking about 5 of something. Here are some of my upcoming topics: 5 Things My Mother Used to Say (That I Didn’t Get At the Time), 5 Motives For Murder and 5 Reasons I Fell in Love With Writing Fiction at 57 (this Sat. at Debra Eve’s Later Bloomer).

Today I’m honoring my home state of Maryland (where my books are set). I love Florida –the palm trees, sunshine, sandy beaches and mild winters–but there are certain things we don’t have down here.

Five Things I Miss About Maryland

1.  Crabcakes!  Whenever we go back to Maryland to visit I order crabcakes everywhere we go. There is absolutely nothing as tasty as a Maryland crabcake. And don’t let those Maryland-style cakes you see advertised elsewhere fool you. They are usually not true Maryland crabcakes.

The secret’s in the Old Bay, hon!

bbottle of Old Bay seasoning

(photo by Beeblebrox, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

2.  Lilacs and dogwood trees!  Florida is lush with flora. We’re in the sub-tropics after all. There’s something blooming in my backyard year round!

But in the springtime, when my Maryland friends post pics on Facebook of their lilac bushes blooming… Oh how I miss the heavenly scent of lilacs!

purple lilacs

(photo-public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

My all-time favorite tree is the dogwood. I used to have one in every color in my front yard (white, pink and red). Theoretically one should be able to grow them down here, but… I’ve planted three of them at various times. One is still alive, sort of, but it’s never bloomed and I doubt it ever will.

(Oops, just went out to take a picture of my sad dogwood tree and it’s deader than a doornail. I’m now three for three.)

3.  Indian summer!  Maybe not the most politically correct terminology these days, but that’s what we called it when I was a kid. Somewhere around the first or second week of September the humidity breaks and the days cool off a bit. Then there will be two to three weeks of gorgeous mid-70’s, low humidity days.

Those weeks always felt like a special gift from Mother Nature, sandwiched between the oppressive heat of August and the crisp chill of October.

4.  Brilliant fall colors!  Yes, we have deciduous trees here in north-central Florida and their leaves change and then drop off. But they change to a rather jaundiced pale yellow at best. And a lot of the trees go right from green to brown, without even bothering with the jaundiced stage. Every once in awhile, you’ll see a touch of red or orange, but just a touch. Nothing like up north!

trees and fallen leaves in red and orange

(photo by liz west, CC-BY-2.0, Wikimedia Common)

5.  Diversity!  Maryland is nicknamed Little America. Despite its relatively small size, it has some of every region of the country represented within its borders. Western Maryland is hill country, with the Allegheny Mountains, and one of the nicest sections of the Appalachian trail (according to a hiker friend of mine).

The Baltimore-Washington corridor in the center of the state has everything a modern urbanite could want–bright lights, theaters, symphonies, fine restaurants, congested traffic and crime.

In Southern Maryland there’s still a lot of farmland and it has quite a southern flavor. It’s not quite warm enough for long enough to grow cotton, but tobacco used to be a major crop. And the Eastern Shore is sprinkled with waterfront towns where tourists and boaters rub elbows with people who make their living off the Bay–fishing, crabbing and harvesting oysters.

I do love living in Florida, but I sometimes miss good old Maryland, My Maryland!!

(Speaking of diversity, the state song was written by a Confederate supporter during the Civil War. He was trying to get his fellow Marylanders to join the South. Listen to the rather gory lyrics. It’s one of the more controversial state songs in the country.)

book cover

 

(Psst, even though the book isn’t officially launched yet, it is live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and it’s on sale for just $1.99 thru June 12th! Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but go ahead and grab yourself a copy.)

 

Do you live somewhere other than where you grew up? What do you miss most about your home state?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)