Tag Archives: Fun Fridays

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.

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.)



The lovely Jennifer Jensen blessed me with the Sunshine Award. (She mistakenly said that I blog at Writers in the Storm. I wish I were part of that wonderful group of writers, but alas I am not.)

But I’m not giving the award back! It’s mine!

Before I answer the questions, etc. for this fun little meme I’d like to be serious for a moment. A blogger/writer friend, Susie Lindau (The Wild Ride) is always passing along positive energy. Today she needs some of ours. She’s in surgery. If you check out her latest post you’ll see why.

So a bunch of us decided to post this message: Susie Strong, we’re thinking of you! {{{HUGS}}}

Now on to spreading sunshine!

The rules of the Sunshine Award are:
•    Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog. (DONE)
•    Link to the person who nominated you. (DONE)
•    Answer the 10 questions below. (About to do so.)
•    Pass the award on to ten (or however many you want) “Sunshine inspiring” bloggers. (Thrilled to do so.)

Favorite color: It’s always been blue, any and every shade of blue. A close second is peach. In this case, other shades won’t do. It can’t be orange. It has to be peach!

picture of palomino horse

This was taken the day I bought her. Isn’t she gorgeous!

Favorite animal: Horses. I don’t ride much now but I had a small horse farm for twelve years. I had a palomino, Ardilla, who was the sweetest creature. She and I were like one when I was on her back. But she got old and eventually died, and somehow riding wasn’t the same anymore. She’s been dead for a decade and I still carry her picture in my wallet.

Favorite number: At the moment it’s five, for sure. Because I’m about to release my fifth book! Yay!

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: I live in the South now so it’s gotta be iced tea!! But I can’t quite develop a taste for sweet tea. My tea is more “not tart” tea.

Favorite alcoholic drink: Pinot Grigio, very cold, in a very large glass! (Prefer Barefoot brand; it’s got a little effervescence. A few tiny little bubbles that tingle on your tongue.)

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, definitely. I like Kristen Lamb’s analogy (no relation to me, btw) that Twitter is a giant cocktail party. I like cocktail parties; they’re fun! But Facebook is more like one long, on-going visit with friends and family and my writer buddies.

Passions: Besides writing and psychology, my friends are my passion. I consider friendship to be the most important thing in life! I feel guilty a lot these days because my writing and helping to run misterio press take up so much time that I’m neglecting my friends.

I’m really not the right personality to be a writer. I’m working on developing my inner introvert more. 😀

Prefer Getting or Giving Gifts: Giving now. I used to love getting them too, and I still enjoy receiving gifts. But now I’m old and I have so much stuff (I’m a bit of a pack-rat) that I don’t get off like I once did on getting more stuff.

But I love to shop! Same dilemma though. Why should I buy more stuff to cram into my house? So buying gifts for others gives me a perfect excuse to shop. And I really enjoy their look of pleasure when the gift hits the mark!!

street scene in Colmar, France

A typical street in Colmar, France.

Favorite City: I’m not a big city girl. I like smaller cities. I think my favorite would be Colmar, Alsace, France. We stayed in an apartment there for a week as our home base while visiting other parts of Eastern France. It is a delightful little city!!

The Alsace region is on the border with Germany. You can really see the German influence in the architecture.

our Colmar apartment

Our Colmar apartment. It was great; much better than a hotel room.

Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds. Hubs and I are addicted to it. He likes it because he used to work for the government. He says the way the BAU team interacts is very realistic. I like trying to figure out the psychological aspects. And I love the characters!

And now to bestow the Sunshine Award on others! Jennifer already tagged some of my favorite bloggers but here are some others I love to bits! If I duplicate anybody else’s picks, well that just means you’re extra popular, I guess. You all (the bloggers) don’t have to feel obligated to do the favorites list but I hope everybody reading this checks out these awesome blogs!

Not in any particular order:

Rhonda HopkinsWhere Reality and Fiction Collide ~ I’m particularly fond of her awesome Authors Give Back series.

Stacy Green’s Get Twisted. Her true crime posts will make the hair stand up on your neck.

Reneé A Schuls-Jacobson has the best sense of humor. Her posts always leave me howling!

K.B. Owen has an adorable blog where she chases the cozy thrill. She writes about history, mysteries, and all kinds of other fun stuff. I love her sense of humor too.

Beverly Diehl‘s Writing in the Flow.  She’s not afraid to take on some tough topics.

Amber West’s A Day Without Sushi is another great blog. She writes about a bunch of different stuff and does so very, very well.

Catie Rhodes just redid her site, Long Roads and Dark Ends, recently. It is spooky and beyond awesome!

Ginger Calem‘s Writers’ Butt Wednesdays are full of good advice, great recipes and lots of laughs.

August McLaughlin’s another blogger who’s not afraid to tackle the tough issues on Savor the Storm, and she’s a great champion of women developing healthier self-images and sexuality. (Her latest post was on female Viagra!)

Marcy Kennedy is not only a writer but she is a fantastic editor (she edited my latest book) and she writes great posts on writerly things.

Aw, gee, do I have to stop at ten? I could list about twenty more. But I’ll leave the others for these folks to tag.

What are some of your favorite things? Come on, don’t be shy. Tell us about them.

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by clicking on the RSS symbol above or by filling in your e-mail address, 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 Things I’m Glad There Are Five Of (and a Cover Reveal!)

To celebrate the release of my new book (#5) I’m kicking off a series of posts today about things there are five of. I’m calling it the Tour of Fives. Today’s is a Just for Fun post to go along with the cover reveal for the book.

And you can win something if you stick around to the end. (No, I’m not above bribing people to be my friends. It worked in elementary school so why not?)

So without further ado…

Five Things I’m Glad There Are Five Of (And an awesome cover!)

Fingers: I love my fingers. They are long and slender and quite agile for their age. They do needlework, play the piano (sort of), pet the dog, type (okay, with lots of typos despite the oversized keyboard!), and they squeeze a friend’s hand as needed.

(And no, I am not that mathematically-challenged. I know I have ten of them, but there’s five per hand, so there.)

Toes: I’m not quite as fond of my toes, because they are not long and thin. I’ve got those weird curly-over type toes that aren’t very attractive. Still I’m glad I have them because they keep me upright (most days) and they’re really good for digging into the sand!

little kid toes in the sand

These toes are a lot cuter than mine! Trust me, you DON’T want to see my toes. (photo by cellar_door_films, CC 2.0, WANA Commons)

Toes in the sand reminded me of…

Months in the Summer: No, I haven’t lost my mind. I live in Florida and down here we have five months of summer. It starts in early to mid May and lasts until early to mid October.

I can hear the groans from all the cold-weather types up there in Michigan and Maine. But I love hot weather! And our summer is preceded by two to three months of gorgeous spring weather, from late February to early May. Okay, now you’re envying me! Yup! Sunny, 70’s-low 80’s, low humidity. 🙂

Senses: Where would we be without them!?!?  My favorite sense is touch. When we think of our five senses, it’s often the last to come to mind, maybe because it isn’t as obvious (not like the nose on your face), nor is it as straightforward.

Touch is a complicated sense. It includes pain, pressure and temperature sensors, and they’re located all over our bodies (am I the only one who’s getting a little tingly here?) We also have touch sensors inside our bodies, in our muscles and other tissues.

This is what I love about this sense! Those sensations inside of us tell us (if we’re paying attention) how we’re feeling. And I think I’ll stop right there because I fear another whole blog post is about to evolve here.

Those visceral internal sensations are a true blessing for us writers who want to convey a character’s feelings. “Her throat closed” or “the pressure was building in her chest” are a bit more interesting than just saying she was sad or pissed off.

Which brings us, last but not least, to… Drum roll, please!!!

Books in My Series: Book 5 is on its way! And I’ve been told by advanced readers that this might be the best one yet.

The characters experience LOTS of those visceral feelings (especially fear!) as they are being chased by a ruthless killer. Here’s the awesome cover my cover artist came up with:

book cover for COLLATERAL CASUALTIES, A Kate Huntington Mystery

Let’s hear it for Martina Dalton of The Authors’ Redroom!!  I hope to have this book out by the end of the month, first week of June at the latest.

Here’s what it’s about (and then I’ll tell you about the ‘winning something’ stuff):

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 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 all could end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue.

I’m so excited about this book that I’m going to give 5 lucky people a chance to win an advance e-book copy. I will randomly pick the winners from the comments below.

What, you thought I was gonna give away money or something? hehe! Maybe next time.

So tell me about something there are five of that you’re particularly grateful for? Or just say something inane so you can try to win a copy. 🙂

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by clicking on RSS or filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Fun Friday’s Gone Visiting

Happy Friday!

Misterio press author, Kirsten Weiss, is over at Catie Rhodes‘ cyberhome today, talking about myths about Tarot cards. Pop on over and check it out!

Kirsten Weiss, Author

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

HAWAII: One Island Chain, Eight Unique and Beautiful Links

To celebrate the release of the 4th book in her Islands of Aloha mystery series, JoAnn Bassett is going to share some fun stuff about (and great pictures of) Hawaii, the setting of her novels and her home for many years. Each book in her series features a different island, or section of an island.

Take it away, JoAnn!

Joann Bassett, Author We all know Hawaii is a unique place. It is the only state that can claim to have no straight line border anywhere along its perimeter–because it is all islands, 137 of them to be exact.

What I think is most fascinating, however, is that within Hawaii the eight major islands are each unique to themselves. We mainlanders tend to think of the Hawaiian Islands as pretty much all the same. But each of the islands has its own distinct style and vibe. Just for fun, let’s look a bit at each of the eight.

O’ahu is often the first island you think of when you think of Hawaii. Made famous by the TV show, Hawaii Five-O, it is the seat of the state government and home to about seventy percent of the state’s population.

O'ahu skyline

The skyline of O’ahu

Honolulu, the state capital, is the largest city in the world – literally. Because of a quirky clause in the Hawaii state constitution, any of the 137 islands that does not belong specifically to another county automatically belongs to Honolulu. As a result, the city of Honolulu is about 1,500 miles long–longer than halfway across the 48 contiguous states!

Maui hosts the most visitors of any of the Hawaiian islands. It’s home to Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano, and the vintage whaling town of Lahaina. So many celebrities own property and visit the island every year that seeing someone “famous” isn’t uncommon. Oprah Winfrey has not one but two homes on Maui. Most visitors stay and play on the West Side, where resorts sit cheek to jowl along the coastline and the economy is nearly one-hundred percent tourism.

beach on Maui

Ka’anapali beach on the island of Maui

Maui boasts the world’s most loved beach, Ka’anapali, and many of the destination weddings in Hawaii are performed on this island. My wedding planner protagonist, Pali (pronounced Polly) Moon, is based on Maui. The first two books in the series, Maui Widow Waltz, and Livin’ Lahaina Loca, showcase this popular island.

Hawaii is referred to as the Big Island. Much confusion is sparked by one of the major islands having the same name as the state itself. It’s sort of like New York and New York City. But unlike New York, the Big Island does not host the state’s most famous city.

On the Hilo side, the Big Island is very local, laid-back and tropical. This side is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, a lush surreal landscape of steaming vent holes bordering a massive moonscape of lava.

Big Island steam vent

A steam vent on the Big Island

On the Kona side, the dry side, large resorts have been built along the Kohala Coast to the delight of sun worshipers and golfers. The Big Island also grows many of the crops the state of Hawaii is known for: coffee, macadamia nuts, and orchids, to name a few.

Lana’i also has a confusing name. The word “lanai” in Hawaiian means a porch or balcony. But the name of the island of Lana’i has three syllables instead of two—lah-na-ee, as opposed to lah-neye. This small island is almost totally owned by one man, Larry Ellison, of Oracle software fame. Although the island used to be covered in pineapple plants, the pineapples are all gone now.

Lanai resort

A resort on Lana’i

Due to some unfortunate events at the end of Livin’ Lahaina Loca, Pali finds herself in Witness Protection on Lana’i in the 3rd book of the series, Lana’i of the Tiger.

Kaua’i is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands. It is home to the Waialeale Mountain, that averages 488 inches of rain per year and is considered the wettest spot on earth. Called “The Garden Isle,” Kaua’i is green beyond imagining. The sunny south side, anchored by the town of Poipu, is where most visitors stay. Waimea Canyon, sometimes referred to as “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is a stunning red, brown, and tan gorge that appears out of place in the lush surroundings.

The North Shore town of Hanalei is where Peter Yarrow of the group Peter, Paul and Mary wrote their famous song about marijuana, Puff the Magic Dragon. That gives you some idea of the vibe of the place. In the 1970’s, a hippie enclave called Taylor Camp was located there.

Kaua'i valley

A valley on the island of Kaua’i.

In my new release, Kaua’i Me a River, Pali spends a lot of time on this island, trying to find out what happened thirty years ago, when her hippie mother died under mysterious circumstances.

Molokai is considered the most “Hawaiian” of the islands that are accessible to the public. It doesn’t have much tourist development and the locals live a quiet laid-back lifestyle. It’s an everybody-knows-everybody kind of place.

The east end of the island is very wet—getting some 240 inches of rain in a year. Most people remember Molokai as home to Kala’aupapa, the place where people suffering from leprosy (now called, Hanson’s Disease) were sent to live in isolation. One of the Catholic Church’s newest saints, Father Damien, died while helping the inhabitants there.

Ni’ihau island is smaller and privately-owned. Only some 200 people reside there. They live in the traditional ways—speaking Hawaiian and without using modern conveniences. Non-residents cannot come on the island, except by invitation or by obtaining one of a very limited number of hunting permits.

Kaho’olawe is the smallest island of the major eight, only 45 square miles. It is a sore subject in Hawaii. Once an inhabited island, for decades it was used for bombing practice by the U.S. military. Groups are trying to restore the island but it will take time and money to erase its sad past.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this armchair tour of Hawaii. If you like all things Hawaiian as I do (or if you just like a good whodunnit), please check out my Islands of Aloha Mystery Series.

Kaua’i Me a River is now available on Amazon. The next book in the series will be set on O’ahu and the last will be on the Big Island. (Also, Monday thru Thursday of next week, Maui Widow Waltz, the first book in the series will be FREE on Amazon. Bookmark it now so you can get it free next week!)

Cover of Kaua'i Me a RiverIt’s her thirty-fifth birthday, but Maui wedding planner Pali Moon is doing her best to ignore it. Then she receives a letter from a lawyer in Hanalei, Kaua’i, requesting her presence at a meeting to discuss an ‘urgent family matter.’ The letter brings Pali’s Kaua’i past rushing back—her birth at a hippie enclave on the North Shore in the 1970’s; her father deserting the family never to be heard from again; and, worst of all, her mother’s tragic death when Pali was only five. What could a Hanalei lawyer possibly have to say that would be worth dredging all that up again? But curiosity and devotion to her mother’s memory win out and Pali heads to Kaua’i. What she discovers on The Garden Island not only rewrites her history but also alters her future.

Posted by JoAnn Bassett. For several years, JoAnn lived in an oceanfront home on Maui, but her husband wasn’t the island rat that she is, so now they live mostly in Southern Arizona. She travels to Hawaii throughout the year, and enjoys writing about life on “the most idyllic islands in the Pacific.”

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Of Brothers, Birthdays & Books!

This weekend, I’m participating in Stacy Green’s Birthday Blast, and there’s a CONTEST involved, with multiple chances to win an $80 gift card (details below). Yay!

Birthday Book Blast banner

Stacy got a bunch of authors together, and many of us have put one or more of our books on sale as part of this blogfest. My latest release, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine, is on sale for just $.99 and I’ve also reduced the price on two other books, Family Fallacies and Celebrity Status, to $2.99. This is a limited time offer so grab up your copies soon!

(More great book buys below!)

But first, my post on the subject of birthdays… and big brothers!

My family didn’t make a huge deal over birthdays when my brother and I were growing up. We got a present, usually sitting next to our plate at dinner, and a birthday cake (chocolate icing for me, coconut for him), and that was about it.

Which was kind of a shame IMHO because one’s birthday is a special day that is all yours! You’re the only one being celebrated. Now I’m not faulting my mom. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were little shavers and I know she did the best she could. But I think there should be a bit of a hoopla about one’s birthday, especially when you’re a kid.

birthday party

One of the few times my mother threw a party for us. This was my brother’s 5th birthday. I’m the one in the high chair.

My brother and I are now in our 60’s, so we have mixed emotions about birthdays. On the one hand, we’re damn glad we’re still having them. 🙂  On the other hand…

Since my brother’s birthday is coming up in just a few days, I decided to dedicate this post to him, and to brothers everywhere.


1.  How to say ‘brother’ as one of my first words. (No kidding, folks, he actually got in my face and actively taught me to say that word. It came out ‘bludder’ and the family story goes that I licked his face when I said it, as in “Ah, Bludder!” *tongue slurp*)

2.  How to ride a scooter. (I’ve long since forgiven him that little mishap involving a huge gash on my forehead that needed several stitches. But I’ve still got the scar… just sayin’.)

3.  How to ring the little bell on my bike handlebars with one hand while not losing control of my bike. (I’ve gotten a lot better at multitasking since then.)

4.  How to make figure-eights with my bike. (Okay, that one ended badly too; there was a concussion involved.)

5.  How to stand up to bullies.

6.  How to catch a softball (although I never quite mastered the football lesson) and dance the cha-cha.

7.  How to control my temper. (Okay, I’m still working on that one.)

8.  What to say to boys so I wouldn’t sound stupid (yeah, still working on that one, too).

9.  How to make the guys in my books sound and act realistic. (He beta reads all my books and advises on the ‘guy stuff’ even though he doesn’t particularly like to read.)

10.  How to be generous with the people you love (see above and below) and be a fiercely loyal friend.

If you’ve got a brother (or sister) you’d like to brag about, go for it in the comments below. But I won’t be able to respond until next week.

Why? Because my brother is very generously traveling with me today up to Maryland to help me paint the outside of my summer cottage up there. Even though it’s his birthday week!

My brother now, in my summer cottage sunroom.

This is the last project he helped me with… finishing off the sunroom in my Maryland cottage. It turned out great!

Don’t worry. I’m gonna bake him a cake! (And I’ll post before and after pictures of the house next week.)

Happy Birthday, Ralph! I love you, Bludder!  😀

Now the Book Deals and Contest!

The following authors also have birthday-related posts up today, and they are all featuring one of their books!We’ve got something for everyone’s tastes.

You can enter the contest at each blog site (i.e. multiple times) plus there are bonus opportunities to enter! Prize is an $80 gift card!!!

Stacy Green’s postIt’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to!

Stacy’s second novel, TIN GOD is an Amazon Hot New Release at just $3.99 ~ Black market adoption, two dead women, and a demented killer. How far would you go to bring justice?

Melinda VanLone’s post:  Birthdays: Looking Back? Or Looking Forward?

Melinda’s debut urban fantasy, Stronger Than Magic, is just $2.99 ~ Tarian Xannon fights demons, like the rest of us. Hers just happen to be real.

Julie Day’s post:  An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, or Not

Julie’s Don’t Get Mad, Book 4 of Geraldine’s Gems romance series is just $1.99 ~ Sandra follows her aunt’s advice, “Don’t get mad, get even,” develops a buff body at the gym, falls in love with a new man and learns to stand up to her estranged control-freak husband.

Catie Rhodes’ post:  Time’s Ticking Away

Catie is featuring her debut novel, Forever Road, starring Peri Jean who owes a ghost a favor and must solve a murder to pay it off ~ $3.99

Tamara Ward’s post:  Birthday Cake Fiasco 

Tamara’s new release, Hidden Betrayal, is featured at $3.99.

Gregory Carrico’s post:  Missing Child in Gator Infested Swamp. sort of.

Gregory is featuring Children of the Plague ~ Can teenage Lanni save her brother, and what’s left of mankind from plague infected mutants in post-apocalyptic Manhattan? ~ $3.99

Patricia Sands’ post:  Look Out! Here Comes Another One!

Patricia is featuring her new release, The Promise of Provence ~ Is home exchange in the south of France a remedy for heartbreak? ~ $3.99

book cover


And last but not least, don’t forget that my new novella, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine, is on sale for just $.99.

I’ve also reduced the price on Family Fallacies and Celebrity Status, to $2.99, for a limited time only.


Here is where you enter the contest!
It starts at 12:01 a.m. April 12 and runs through Sunday, April 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Ghost, Ghosts Everywhere (All Weekend Long)

To celebrate the release of Catie Rhodes’ book, Forever Road, in which her main character sees ghosts, we here at misterio press put our heads together and came up with some real ghost stories for you all.

Yes, these are real ghost sightings by one of us, or by people we know and have every reason to believe are sane!

Today, we’ve got three short stories for you, and then tomorrow and Sunday, we’ll be bringing you two more!! (In Sunday’s story, someone actually ‘captured’ the ghost in a photo, which we will show you.)

But first you’ve gotta meet Peri Jean. She’s a hoot!

Forever Road cover

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

Forever Road is available on AMAZON for your reading pleasure!!

And now our real-life ghost stories:

 From JoAnn Bassett:  I’d taken my parents on a tour of the state of Colorado and we stopped for a night in this huge hotel where hardly anyone was staying. I had no idea at the time that this was The Stanley Hotel, where the movie based on Stephen King’s The Shining was shot.

Late at night I heard music coming from a downstairs ballroom. I looked out the window and saw a diffused light coming from the ballroom windows and when I opened my window I could hear Big Band songs being played by a large dance band. I figured someone was having a wedding and the bride and groom liked old-style music.

photo of Stanly Hotel at night

The Stanley Hotel at night (photo by lojjic, CC license 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

In the morning, I mentioned it to the desk clerk and her shoulders slumped. “Not again,” she said. I learned later that a couple who were married there in the 1940’s had died in a car crash going back down to Denver, and now and then when they begin to miss each other terribly they come back to the place of their wedding and re-enact their last beautiful night on Earth. I was so creeped out when I left (and it was a bright sunny day) I had to grip the wheel to avoid joining them by crashing my car on my way back to Denver!

I KNOW I heard the music and saw the shadows of people dancing in the ballroom on the first floor! And the song I remember was “Stardust.”

From Kirsten Weiss:  My sister believes in nothing but herself – and certainly not in ghosts. And while she won’t out and out say she once lived in a haunted apartment… Here’s her story.

Mysterious shadows that moved up the stairs and across the walls – she could rationalize those. Even the pumpkin that tipped over and rolled away after one of those shadows flitted over it–even that she could try to deny.

creepy hand

Photo by en:User: Drgnu23 subsequently altered by en:user: Grendelkhan, en:user: Raul654 and en:user: Solipsist. CC license 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

But once while she was alone in the apartment, she stepped out of the shower, and saw an adult hand reach beneath the bathroom door.

There wasn’t room enough for a child’s hand to slip beneath that door!

It was impossible, uncanny, and terrifying. She perched on the toilet seat, feet tucked under her, bathroom door locked, until she heard her roommate come home.


From Kassandra Lamb: My mother died at 76 after a 6-month battle with cancer. She and my stepfather had retired to Florida but most of their friends and family still lived in Maryland (including my brother and I at the time) so my stepfather decided to have her memorial service up north.

After the service he headed back to Florida. He’d already decided that he didn’t want to live in their house alone, so on that long drive south, my stepfather was thinking about everything he needed to do to get the house ready to put on the market. As he thought about how he would dispose of my mother’s clothing, he started getting a case of the guilts. Was it disrespectful to be so hasty about throwing out or giving away her clothes and other personal belongings?

When he got home, he walked into the bedroom and opened the closet door. The rod in the closet had broken, on my mother’s side of the closet, and had dumped all my mother’s clothes onto the floor. He looked at the ceiling and said, “Got it, Hon.” Then he went to get bags to start packing up her clothes for Goodwill.

Now when’s the last time you heard of a closet rod breaking loose like that? It happens but not that often. This was just too much of a coincidence! And it totally fit with my mother’s sense of humor.

My mom laughing

My mom laughing HAO over something my brother said.

How about you? Have you ever seen a ghost, or know somebody who has?

Don’t forget to check out Catie’s great book, Forever Road.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!  (And be sure to stop back tomorrow and Sunday for two more real-life ghost stories.)

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

When the Saints Come Marching In (and a New Release)

book cover

In honor of my new release, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine, I decided to write a Just for Fun Friday post about saints. (See below for details about my book.)

Now I know sainthood should be a reverent, serious topic but you go Google the list of patron saints and see if you aren’t smiling or even downright laughing out loud over some of them.

Most of us are familiar with St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, and St. Christopher who looks over travelers.

But did you know that St. David of Wales is the patron saint of doves and praying to St. Polycarp of Smyrna will probably keep you from getting dysentery?

stained glass window of St. David of Wales

St. David of Wales (photo by Wolfgang Sauber, CC share-alike license, Wikimedia Commons)

If you have arm pain, have a little chat with St. Amelia. If you’re going ice skating, a short prayer to St. Lidwina of Schiedam wouldn’t hurt (seriously, there is a patron saint of ice skating).

If you’re inclined to have fits of frenzy then St. Dennis is who you should be madly praying to (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).

The various professions have their patron saints and the number of saints a particular profession has doesn’t seem to correlate with the degree of need for divine intervention. Accountants, librarians, bankers, barbers, chefs, engineers, engravers, gardeners, funeral directors, veterinarians, translators and whitewashers all have one each. (Yes, whitewashers have a saint.)

Soldiers have four which seems fitting but astronauts only have one, as do road workers, nurses and surgeons. Teachers have two, which doesn’t seem like quite enough considering all they have to deal with.

Prisoners have two while prison guards only have one. Hmm. Not sure I’d like those odds if I were a prison guard. Police officers and firefighters only have two each, while bakers and comedians have three. What’s up with that?

The ones I was most interested in were, well, interesting. The patron saint of therapists and psychiatrists is St. Christina the Astonishing. Oookkaay.

St. Francis de Sales and St. Lucy of Syracuse are the patron saints of authors and writers. St. Francis de Sales was a very pious fellow. He was the Bishop of Geneva during the Protestant Reformation and he used a lot of flyers and other writings in his attempt to convert Calvinists to Catholicism.

St. Lucia (or St. Lucy) of Syracuse is better known for being the patron saint of the blind. She was martyred around 300 AD and one story says her eyes were poked out before she was killed. Another version is that her pagan fiancé, whom she was trying to ditch because she was a devout Christian, had admired her beautiful eyes. So she plucked them out and gave them to him, saying something to the effect, “Okay, take them and leave me alone so I can dedicate myself to God.”

In artwork, she is sometimes shown holding a tray with her eyes on it.

Renaissance painting of St. Lucy

Renaissance painting of St. Lucy (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Eeeww! With all due respect to St. Lucy who, one way or another, died a gruesome death… Ixnay to the eyesway on the aytray!

But back to St. Augustine and my new book. It’s set in the city of that name in Florida. The city was named by the Spanish sea captain who founded it. He first sighted land on the feast day of St. Augustine in 1565. My guess is the scene went something like this:

Guy up in the rigging yells in Spanish, “Land! I see land!”

The captain, one Don Pedro Menandez de Avilla, falls on his knees and says, “Gracias, St. Augustine, for putting this piece of land between us and the edge of the world, because that Columbus was a fool. Everybody knows the world is flat.”

In addition to being the patron saint of brewers, printers and theologians, St. Augustine is the one to pray to for the alleviation of sore eyes. How apropos for me, since by the end of a day at the computer writing and/or editing, my eyes are quite sore.

Okay, you all check out my new release while I ask St. Augustine for some eye drops and then call my priest to set up an appointment for confession, ’cause I think I’m probably in trouble with the Big Man Upstairs after writing this post.

Then tell me about your favorite saint down in the comments.

(And because I love how this cover turned out, I’m gonna show it to you again!)

An UNSAINTLY SEASON in St. AUGUSTINE, A Kate on Vacation mystery

Even on vacation, Kate Huntington can’t seem to avoid other people’s troubles. While in St. Augustine, Florida for the Christmas holidays, she and her PI husband get caught up in trying to find a friend of Kate’s parents who’s gone missing. They soon discover that this isn’t just a case of a senior citizen wandering off. Can they reunite the elderly man with his wife before Christmas, or will others who mean him harm find him first?

This is the first of a series of novella-length mysteries with a cozy flavor to them. They feature the same characters from the Kate Huntington Mystery series. These are intended to be light, suspenseful reads that also allow the reader to travel vicariously to interesting and sometimes exotic places.

Available now as an e-book for just $1.99 on:



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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Do You Experience More Ennui or Joie de Vivre?

This is the second installment in our Just for Fun Friday series on Emotion Words Around the World. And we have hit on what we think is a great prize for the best comment. Whoever comes up with the best story about our emotion word or words of the day will get a free e-book.

Yay! Who’s gonna turn down a free book, right?

Today we explore the deeper meanings of two French terms, ennui and joie de vivre. These may very well be words you’ve heard before, since they are often used in English as well. But just as often something gets lost in their translation.

Ennui is defined in English dictionaries as boredom and listlessness. Well, yeah, but in French it means a bit more than that. It often connotes a certain level of dissatisfaction with life, and maybe even an unwillingness to do anything about being bored. When someone is suffering from ennui they are mired down in a weariness and discontent that may be hard to shake. Indeed, the root of the word, from old French, means annoyance. So there’s a certain amount of low-grade irritability involved. The word is not synonymous with depression, but it is describing the feelings that we often experience when we are mildly depressed.

(photo by Jessica Mullen, CC 2.0 license, Wikimedia Commons)

Let’s contrast ennui with bored:

American teenager (with slouched shoulders and glazed-over look on face): “Mother, I am sooo bored!”

French teenager (with head thrown back, eyes closed, back of hand against forehead): “Maman, j’ai ennui!

American teenager isn’t annoyed so much as she is annoying–to her mother. French teenager, you’re starting to worry she’ll become suicidal. Either that or you want to enroll her in drama school.

Now joie de vivre on the other hand, does translate more directly into English–joy of living. And yet we Americans never say that. We don’t walk around saying, “I’m feeling joy of living today.” But it is okay to say, “I’m full of joie de vivre today.” Why is that?

My best guess is that because we’re not too comfortable with public displays of intense emotions in this country, it is somehow more acceptable to express feeling crazy happy with life via a French expression. That’s okay, because you know those French, they’re an emotional lot.

I’m a fairly intense person (just ask my husband; he’ll be happy to tell you all about my mood swings), so I feel both ennui and joie de vivre a good bit.

For me, ennui is definitely not simple boredom. I rarely experience boredom, except in doctors’ waiting rooms when I forget my kindle. But some days I do have ennui. Not because I have nothing to do; au contraire, I usually have too much to do on those days. And yet I don’t feel like doing any of the things I should be doing. For me, ennui is a vague, itchy-in-my-own-skin restlessness combined with a not-quite-depressed-but-definitely-less-than-happy feeling.

Needless to say, I’m not fond of ennui.

Joie de vivre, on the other hand, is wonderful. It’s chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry on top!

(photo by Zachariah Judy, CC 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

(And nuts. I forgot to mention the nuts! Because what would life be without a few nuts in it, right?)

Even though I’m not a morning person, I most often feel joie de vivre early in the day (maybe because I’m not all that tired yet). And it’s not usually associated with something spectacularly wonderful that’s happening in my life. I most often feel it when I’m driving somewhere in the morning or early afternoon–usually to someplace relatively mundane, like the grocery store or Zumba class. I’ll get this light, bubbly feeling in my chest and I’ll just feel happy to be alive!

How about you? When do you tend to feel either ennui or joie de vivre, and how would you describe your experience of those feelings?

Remember the most interesting (or funniest) comment will get you a free e-book. And you get to choose from any of the books put out by our misterio press authors. So make something up it good!

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!