Monday, April 16, 2018

J.R. Lindermuth, Guest Author

J.R. Lindermuth

 J.R. Lindermuth is my guest author this week. He has some interesting things to say about strong women and his new book, The Bartered Body. I just started reading it and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Welcome, John!
In two previous novels, Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman's ultimate goal has been to marry Lydia Longlow. Crime, and Lydia's refusal, prevented his achieving his desire.
Lydia hasn't rejected his many proposals because she doesn't love him. Her resistance has been based on her independence. The woman is busy. In addition to caring for her elderly parents and running the family general store, she's also postmistress, head of the Women's Temperance League, a Sunday school teacher and sings in the Methodist church choir, among other activities.

Some might question the existence of such an independent woman in the 19th century when male dominance restricted many to the home and childbirth, denying them the right to own property, vote and participate in many areas. Truth is, there were many more such women in the period than you might suspect. Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (better known as Nellie Bly), for example, was only one of numerous women journalists. They were derisively known as 'stunt reporters,' because men didn't think they should be taken seriously.

There were entrepreneurs like Lydia Pinkham. Inventors like Tabitha Babbitt, who invented the circular saw. One might mention Elizabeth Blackwell, who blazed the path for women in the medical profession. Others founded religions. Some even served as soldiers or spies in time of war. And, of course, there were numerous women novelists.

So, Lydia Longlow is not an exception, but an example of the intelligent, energetic women of the period. Syl's persistence to win her hand continues in The Bartered Body, though he's beset with even more obstacles this time around. 

Here's the blurb:

Why would thieves steal the body of a dead woman?

That’s the most challenging question yet to be faced by Sylvester Tilghman, the third of his family to serve as sheriff of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, in the waning days of the 19th century.

And it’s not just any body but that of Mrs. Arbuckle, Nathan Zimmerman’s late mother-in-law. Zimmerman is burgess of Arahpot and Tilghman’s boss, which puts more than a little pressure on the sheriff to solve the crime in a hurry.

Syl’s investigation is complicated by the arrival in town of a former flame who threatens his relationship with his sweetheart Lydia Longlow; clashes with his old enemy, former burgess McLean Ruppenthal; a string of armed robberies, and a record snowstorm that shuts down train traffic, cuts off telegraph service and freezes cattle in the fields.

It will take all of Syl’s skills and the help of his deputy and friends to untangle the various threads and bring the criminals to justice.

Buy links:


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Just Released - Gin Mill Grill - A Sandi Webster Mystery. Hope you'll give it a try.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A New Book for Your Entertainment

Gin Mill Grill - A Sandi Webster Mystery is now available on

Sandi and Pete have earned a reputation for solving old cases, and they’re approached by a woman who’d like a 1930s crime solved. A man was brutally murdered and his brother immediately disappeared. The authorities believed the brother was their best suspect, but they weren’t able to track him down.

Case closed – or was it? A lone police officer didn’t like the results and spent the rest of his life searching for answers.

Their client’s father had tried to clear the name of Harley Glosser, the dead man’s brother, but his efforts were futile. His interest in the case? Horace and Harley Glosser were his cousins.

With the discovery of a private room in the house where the crime was committed, Sandi and Pete must change their thought processes and start running down other suspects and looking at other locations, including an old speakeasy. The potential suspects are people in their nineties, so they also have to hope they’re still living.

Why would someone in the current day try to put a halt to the investigation? After all, the murder took place in the 1930s.

Circumstances are often not as they seem, and this case is no exception.  

a little humor, a little romance, A Little Murder!

I hope you’ll give the book a try, and thank you!

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw's website
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Monday, February 26, 2018

A New Book (Coming Soon) - A New Cover

I’ve read that titles initially draw the attention of readers, and covers often come in second. If the books are facing outward, generally the cover will grab my eye first. If not facing outward, I scan the titles.

The title of Sandi Webster’s latest adventure will be, Gin Mill Grill – A Sandi Webster Mystery. It’s not quite finished yet, but the gist of the story is that someone wants Sandi to solve a murder from the early 1930s which indirectly involves an old speakeasy from the Prohibition era.

A few huge surprises await Sandi when she begins looking into the cold case. As often happens, things aren’t always as they appear. Additionally, why would someone from a younger generation be taking an interest in the old crime? Yes, Sandi’s in trouble again.

In the 1930s, a man was murdered and his brother disappeared. The police are pretty sure they know who committed the murder, but how did the brother disappear so completely and without a trace? Did he really take his brother’s life? Why?

There’s more to Horace and Harley Glosser’s story than anyone might suspect.

Like I said, that’s the gist of the story. However, there’s more to a book than just the story itself. A book cover would be nice. This is a “friend of a friend” situation. Dori Pendergrass is a friend of a friend, and now my friend. She’s also an artist, and she agreed to paint the cover for this latest book. Here’s a preview:


Yes, that’s a mummy sitting in a chair with a small Chiweenie on his lap. (Dogs do the darnedest things.) I’d explain, but you’ll want to read the book when it comes out to understand the dynamics.

The exciting part to me is that I have the original painting hanging over my fireplace.

I normally create my own book covers. I’m certainly no expert, but I sure have fun putting them together. Once in a while, I’m able to use photos I’ve taken myself, like the black butterfly, which visited in my own backyard. These are my personal three favorites:

And now I have a Dori Pendergrass painting to add to my list of favorites.

I’ve also created a few Book Trailers that can be found on my website on The Books Page. Those were a lot of fun to put together, too.

But then there’s the dreaded marketing and promoting. Some authors love this part of the process. I’m not one of them. To me, those are the most difficult parts of getting a book “out there.” Wouldn’t most of us just love to write a book, have it placed on a shelf, and move on to the next story? It doesn’t work that way, and I’ve been quite lax about the process for the past couple of years.

I kept writing, but life got in the way of the process. Well, life goes on, and so do I. It’s time to start thinking up some new promotional ideas. Maybe I should go back and read some of my old blogs. I offered advice to others but failed to follow my own advice.

Anyway, now you know a little about the story and you’ve seen the cover. Other than writing the book, what part of the process do you find to be the most fun or most fulfilling? The curious want to know.

Until next time, do something book-related this week and enjoy yourself. Read a new book, write a new book, browse at the bookstore or online. (I still enjoy a brick and mortar bookstore, but that’s just me.)

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website (I will update it soon.)
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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Drama of It All

My tagline is, A little humor, a little romance, a little Murder!

There's absolutely nothing funny about murder, but the same can't be said for solving a crime.  Sandi, Pete, Pamela and Chris will take you places and introduce you to people and situations you'll remember for a long time, and they'll do their best to offer you a smile along the way. (A quote from my website.)

While my stories offer a little humor, there’s also drama. As stated above, there’s nothing humorous about murder. I’ve read a number of books that are funny from beginning to end, even though they involve violence of all kinds. While I enjoy them, that’s not what I want to present to the reader – to each his (or her) own.

Sometimes we need a little comedy relief in the middle of suspense and drama. It’s the same way in real life. When something traumatic happens in my life, I often look for a way to lighten the way I feel. Maybe it’s as simple as a funny memory from the life of someone who passed away. Maybe it’s finding something unexpected when you’re sorting through that person’s belongings. Sometimes even something touching can bring a smile to your face.

I realize that not everyone looks at things the way I do, but humor has gotten me through some rough times. I also understand that finding humor isn’t always possible, but more often than not I’ll find something humorous about almost every situation.

The other morning I woke up in a really, really bad mood. I don’t know why. During the morning I was in the kitchen and there was a sudden loud thud somewhere in the house. Of course, I just knew there was something wrong and I ran all over the house looking for tipped over furniture, an intruder, whatever.

Since moving to a different house, one of my dogs, Sugar, has taken to napping on my bed. When I checked my room, she was sitting on the floor looking like, “What the heck just happened?” Um, she fell off the bed. She’s a large dog. It made a very loud thud. And she made me laugh. Yes, she was fine. My bad mood disappeared in a flash.

I spoke to a woman who’d recently read Old Murders Never Die. She said she’d now read all of the Sandi Webster mysteries. I asked if any of them at least brought a smile to her face. She said that, yes, they made her laugh aloud. And she said Old Murders Never Die also made her cry, and that she appreciated the comedy relief in the story. She made my day.

This is also what made me think about the drama in the books. Real life is made up of drama, humor, sadness and joy. Shouldn’t books depict real life to some extent?

I look at it this way. There’s drama in life, however, when I read a book the drama is someone else’s problem. In a story, I get to see that drama resolved, and that gives me hope for life away from a book. If there’s a little humor in the story, too, that’s frosting on the cake.

When my time comes, I hope that rather than cry, people will remember funny stories about me. Easy to do because I’m such a clumsy person, and usually when I say something funny, it’s purely accidental. I’m not all that quick-witted. I do manage to make people laugh from time to time, and their laughter make me feel good.

Hmm. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me I need to start adding more humor to my blogs.

How do you feel? Would you rather read a book and laugh or cry, or both? Just curious.

Until next time, my heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims in Florida. I hope that at some point a sudden memory will bring a smile to them – maybe not laughter, but a smile.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website (still in need of updating)
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COMING SOON: A preview of the new book cover for Gin Mill Grill – A Sandi Webster Mystery, and hopefully the book won’t be too far behind.