First New Year’s Resolution & New Category

When, as a novelist, you’re reduced to writing about sudoku for a blog topic, it’s time to add a new category to your blog.  Luckily the category I’m thinking about is a lot of fun, and I hope you’ll join in the play. It’s called “bragging.”

Book Cover: Brag! by Peggy Klaus

2016’s New Years Resolution One: Do the exercises in this book!

I may have mentioned the book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, by Peggy Klaus.  It’s a great motivator for learning to talk well about yourself without becoming an obnoxious conversation hog.  In her book, Peggy has a lot of exercises.  For 2016, one of my resolutions is to work through as many of her exercises as possible.  What better place to do that than on this blog?

But these exercises aren’t just for me,  I hope you’ll play along too.  Are you ready? What? You say it isn’t 2016 yet?  Hmm.  You’re right.  But I always did appreciate getting a head start on things.  If you wait for the New Year, congratulations on your restraint.  As for me, I’m diving in.


Peggy talks about how important it is to build an ever-expanding repertoire of small speeches about yourself, she calls a BRAGOLOGUE.  These can be 30-second elevator speeches or they can be up to three minutes long.  If you think three minutes is a short amount of time, just try to talk to yourself in the mirror for three minutes. Yikes!

How do you start building this collection of monologs that convey in a conversational tone (storytelling style) cool information about yourself that’s both memorable and generates interest in you? Start with taking an inventory of yourself.  Peggy has a “Take 12” collection of challenges.  Here’s challenge one:

“What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?”

That’s your writing challenge for the week.  I’m taking this question and narrowing in only on one of them:


Doll house murder scene

It’s fun to be creative — bwa,ha,ha,ha,ha!

Okay. I’m creative. Yep. I see things differently from others.  How is that interesting? Hmm. Here goes:

Do you like to read mysteries?  I do.  I’ve read mysteries since I was in the second grade and read through the Happy Hollister stories, and moved on to Trixie Beldon and more.  As a grown up, I not only read mysteries but I like to write them as well. I have two novels in print and am working on another.

This summer, my second novel was released by Gale Cengage and Five Star Publishing.  For my book launch, some writing friends and I decided to hold a “baby shower” for our new releases (did I mention I have some very creative friends?).  At baby showers people expect to play party games, so our party was no exception.

For my game, I found an old doll house and decorated it to be a murder scene.  Good-bye Barbie, hello bwa-ha-ha!  I gave my guests a sheet of questions so that they could play “You the Sleuth!” and test their powers of logic and observation.

One of my guests had enough fun with this that she invited me to set up a life-sized murder scene for her Halloween party at a local dance studio.  This made it possible to talk murder and promote my new book to more than 40 people.

Now It’s Your Turn

Can you take a personality gift of yours and write a small story about you?  Start with a list of 5 personality pluses, and then narrow in on your favorite.  Build a true story around it and start sharing with friends.  I’d love to hear your story, so please do send it along.  What are you proud of in yourself?  What do people say when they’re trying to compliment you?

And be sure to check out Brag! by Peggy Klaus.  This should be on every person’s bookshelf.

Wishing you a happy and creative writing day.


Daisy Update–A New Review

Are you like me?  Are you excited and proud to share good news about yourself, i.e. want to brag when something good happens?  And then, right behind that whoop of excitement you feel a bit embarrassed?

Brag! Tooting Your Own Horn

Great book.

Perhaps we all have had a dad like Peggy Klaus, author of Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.  Ms. Klaus wrote about when she was small, she won a tennis match and was celebrating and telling everyone about her success.  Then her dad took her aside and said, “Peggy, don’t toot your own horn; if you do a good job people will notice you.” She learned to become more and more self-deprecating until this “aw shucks” attitude drove her away from success in Hollywood.

Then Ms, Klaus discovered the art of storytelling.  That’s right.  She learned to talk about herself by literally writing true stories about her life and her accomplishments.  Success started tumbling in.  Great book.  You may want to check it out.  I’ve given copies to several friends, and keep referring back to it.

What has this to do with a Daisy Arthur update?  I want to brag today.  I’ve received some kind and generous feedback about Faith on the Rocks recently, and I’d like to share it with you.

The Professional Review

Yesterday amongst my usual litany of emails to get me to buy something, be a part of something and general “you’re on my mailing list” stuff, came an email from my publisher.  I  have to say, I jump all over these emails.  Anyway, Tiffany forwarded a review for me from Linda Morelli, an award-winning romance writer of three published novels.  Ms. Morelli also  writes reviews for the website,, and somehow she selected my book for a review (I suspect my publisher’s hand in here–Thanks, Tiffany).   The review was so cool and kind it made my day.  My favorite line was “While the murder plot is well-developed, it’s the characters that make this novel an enjoyable cozy mystery and thoroughly entertaining read. Faith on the Rocks truly rocks!”

A Second Read

I’m also thrilled to tell you about a note from my brother-in-law.  Randy is someone I’ve always looked up to.  I met him when I was still a little girl and he was one of those grown-up college guys.  A whiz at math, and a great ping-pong player (who my own dad loved to play against), Randy, like all my “big brothers” was always a bit out of my league–someone to star-gaze at.

Then this summer he actually bought one of my books.  It wasn’t my sister (though I suspected he bought the book for her), but this professional who has a mind that’s very deep.  He couldn’t possibly want to read a cheesy little murder mystery, right?

Randy read the book within a day or two of buying it, asked me probing questions, and was generally kind in his feedback.  I floated on cloud 9 for a few days after.

Then, last week, I received this message: “Picked up a lot more little things in the story the second time. . . Keep writing.” Wow!  Thank you Randy!  I can’t imagine people reading my book a second time. How cool is that?

Seeing Beyond The Words

Some of my feedback comes directly from friends.  Kaye stopped to chat with me at ballroom dance a few days back.  She was in the midst of reading Faith, told me she was pretty far along in the book and still didn’t know who did it, but she suspected it wasn’t anyone in the writing group because of the book’s title.

I explained that the title came from the occupation of the victim and the manner in which he died.  “Oh darn,” said Kaye. “I thought I’d figured it out.”  She also talked about some of the layering of themes I’d put in the book, but didn’t think people would see.  You could say this review left me feeling like dancing–even if dancing meant doing steps in exercise fashion, over and over again.  Thank you, Kaye!

Other Daisy Progress

I’m excited to let you know that my second novel, Sliced Vegetarian, is with beta readers right now, and I’m starting to get a little feedback here too.  I chose my beta readers with care, and I’m sure these friends will give me some good things to chew over before going into final edits and submission.

Melissa already let me know that I need to push up a little more humor in chapter one.  Will try, my friend, and thanks for your thoughts.

Also, a few weeks ago I mentioned I was going to be at Three Chimneys–Natural Surroundings for a book signing in Littleton.  That signing went well, with over 10 books sold!  Whoo Hoo!  It was super to meet more people from the area and talk mystery with these terrific readers.  Also, Terri and her team were terrific hosts and left me feeling both welcome and appreciated.  I’ll be returning to Three Chimneys in November.  If you can make it, I’d love to see you there.

Last update

I’ve settled on a new idea for the third Daisy novel.  Can’t tell you much about it, as I’ve only had ideas start to gel, but I think the title will be, Pot Shots.  I’ll keep you posted.

Wishing you a great day, and may all your mysteries find satisfying resolutions.