It is my pleasure to introduce a friend and fellow writer, Sarah Mallery, to the blog today! I met Sarah a couple of years ago when we participated in a box set together. She’s talented, kind, and hard-working.
Please welcome Sarah!
What do you write?
For the last ten years, I have mostly written historical fiction. BUT I have now dipped my toe into different waters. “Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery” is a modern mystery––with a bit of time travel (Gotta get in some historical research, don’t I?)
What genre do you favor?
I am very eclectic in my tastes in music, movies/TV series. And books. Although historical fiction has played a big part in my life, I really am open to any genre––if the characters and plots grab me. In fact, it sometimes surprises me how much I end up liking a book that I thought I’d never get into, because of the author’s skill of reeling me in.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I actually have a little story about that. First off, you have to understand that I come from a family of writers. My dad was a television writer from the Golden Age of Television up into the 1970s, my grandfather and great uncle were both Pulitzer Prize winners, my grandmother, aunts and uncles were all editors. The result? I wasn’t going to touch writing with a ten-foot pole! But then something happened…at the age of fifty.
My very first short story was written just outside of a Macy’s Foundations department, where I waited for my then teenage daughter to select a few bras. She was taking her sweet time, so, as I sat on a leather couch nearby, I got out a little pad and pencil and started scribbling a short story. Forty-five minutes later, my daughter appeared, apologizing heartily for taking so long. I looked up at her, dazed, my mind exploding with inspired thoughts and images.
“It’s okay, honey,” I told her. “Why don’t you go back and check out some panties?”
Twenty years later, I feel the same way. Once I start writing, time stops for me.
Talk about having a legacy to live up to! But you managed just fine 🙂
Are you published?
Yes. Through Amazon Digital Services LLC. Check out my Amazon page below.
Where can you be found on social media?
Website or blog: https://www.srmallery.blog
Twitter – @SarahMallery1
Facebook – https://bit.ly/2BTGs8H
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mallerysarah/
Audible – https://adbl.co/2MsT23o
What do you think is the best way to publish these days?
Having had the experience of being published through a small press that didn’t do much for me promotion wise, and after talking to a few authors who were published through some pretty big houses then left to be an Indie, I realized I, too, was happy being an Indie. I get to see exactly how much money I make every day, both from sales and pages read, I can easily set up sale prices, and I feel I have complete control over my book cover and manuscript. I was once told by a potential agent that my western romance, “The Dolan Girls,” could possibly be accepted by a big publishing house, and was I interested in signing up with them? I was just about to release it myself as an Indie, but after looking at the covers on the publisher’s site, I decided I didn’t want to change mine to look like so many of theirs. Besides that, I knew that if my book were actually taken, the book probably wouldn’t have come out for at least another year or two. Nah. That wasn’t going to work for me…
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
Again, I like them all. I even read a couple of Zombie books and was amazed by how much I got into them. It was all because the author had made the characters very appealing and the story compelling. Bingo. A no brainer…
How do you approach starting a new book?
At first, I come up with an idea of what I want to write about. It can come from anywhere. From an article I’ve read, a quote I saw at some point, a picture that grabbed me, a book with plot suggestions. Then, I start thinking of scenes. I write them down on little pieces of paper or 3 x 5 cards and shove them into a large manila envelope. Every time I watch a movie or television show, look at a picture book, or just observe something in my life, I jot down my thoughts and throw them into that envelope. Maybe it’s a throwback to when I was a quilt designer and put together all these little pieces together to create blocks. Who knows? It’s just how my mind works.
What a unique idea!
I ALWAYS make sure I know pretty how much how I’m going to start the book…and how I’m going to end it. Once I’ve at least settled on that, I can relax and proceed. After I have amassed quite a lot of little tidbits, I take them all out, paper-clipped them into categories/characters/plot, and start thinking of where they’ll go in chapters. Basically, I’m a Planner with a Pantser Rising. In other words, generally, I want to know where I’m going, but I’m not opposed to changing my mind at a moment’s notice.
What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?
I use a lot of different books, but these are the three I consistently use:
“Master Lists for Writers” by Bryn Donovan
“The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
“The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits” by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.
What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?
1) Sometimes, to de-stress, I just go onto my Youtube app and watch all kinds of videos. Puppies, kittens, parrots, toddlers dancing to music, funny Late Night opening monologues, scenes from comical movies––whatever does the trick. Or maybe watch a comedy with hubby where we both howl with glee. Forget meditation. For me, letting those laughing endorphins loose hits the spot!
2) I also like to water my plants because I listen to music while I’m doing it and I’m outside (negative ions, negative ions).
3) I enjoy having family and friends over (once I’ve cleaned up the house, that is!).
4) I like my Senior and Fit exercise class. Not only is it helping me physically––as someone who is past thirty (WAY past)––before class and after, it is like walking into a cocktail party, everyone is so chatty and friendly.
5) And lastly, I love to cuddle with my cat, Junebug. She’s actually featured in my “Tea, Anyone?” So now, I write notes on what cute things she does for future books in the series. Does she realize why I’m taking out a pad and pencil as I coo at her? Maybe. But chances are, she’s just wondering when I’m going to feed her next.
Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?
I’m going to just name some groups of people.
1) Fire fighters who continually deal with great danger all the time. We owe them so much!
2) People who stand up against injustices in the world, no matter their jobs or politics.
3) Scientists who work tirelessly to discover cures for horrendous diseases.
4) People with crippling conditions who fight every day just to survive.
5) People who quietly donate great sums of money to charities without any fanfare.
Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?
Well, once at a job interview, the guy took one look at my resume and said, “You’re either amazing because of how many careers you’ve had… or you’re insane.”
Before entering the writing world, I’d been a singer (both classical and pop/disco), a calligrapher, a secretary, a waitress (a singing waitress to be exact), a production artist, a composer for educational films, a quilt designer, an English As a Second Language teacher, an accent reduction teacher, and a reading teacher.
Wow! When did you sleep? lol
What was your best date ever?
I know this sounds corny as all get out, but it was with my husband, some forty years ago. At the time, I was the female singer of a little band, playing in all kinds of small establishments. One of them looked like the set of the TV show, “Cheers.” Charming place. Anyway, my then non-hubby was in the crowd and came over to talk to me on each of my breaks. Finally, he asked me for my phone number, but being cautious, I took his number instead. When I did call him several days later he said he was happy to hear from me, and could I meet up with him on the commercial set where he was working? Turned out he designed and built props for commercials. And being a creative sort, I loved seeing what he had designed, and how clever his little village looked. After the shoot was over, we went out for dinner and drinks. Why was it the best date? Not because we did anything so special. No high-speed racetracks, no skydiving, no watching a fabulous Broadway show, no moonlight drive with the top down. It was just a simple date with a handsome, intelligent man who made me feel unbelievably comfortable––and safe.
Sounds wonderful to me.
Tell us something you are really proud of.
I know I should be proud of having written ten books, with two of them receiving READERS’ FAVORITE gold medals. But if I really think about it, I think I’m most proud of staying involved with the wonderful world of authors online. People who not only are talented, but are also kind, sympathetic, and full of great stories. I’ve met men and women who have sometimes had to deal with unbelievable hardships in their lives, yet still soldier on, writing, and supporting other authors. It truly touches my heart.
Can you confide something you wish you were better at?
I wish I was better at promoting…but I’m learning, learning every day.
Chocolate or chips?
Chocolate chips, particularly in ice cream. Or chocolate chip bars. Yummmm.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?
I would immediately change the basic personalities of all the nasty, greedy people in the world who only care about themselves and no one else. Don’t get me started…
Fancy restaurant or picnic?
Well, I’d start with a picnic. But at the first sign of ants, it’s off we go to a fancy restaurant!
Beer or wine?
I have several, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it’d be Harper Lee. Love her simple yet lyrical words, her “show don’t tell” writing, and her amazingly touching characters.
Smooth or hairy?
We’re talking about men, right? LOL
Face, chest, or butt? All I can say is if it’s the bottom of their feet, that’s a real problem…
Lol, great answer 🙂
And now for some promo:
“Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery Series”
AMAZON BLURB :
How do two modern, quirky, twenty-something gals solve
murders in a small, cozy USA town?
Easy. With a little time travel, some humor, and a lot of hard work. When the skeptical Brooke first meets the psychic Abby, she’s not impressed. But with the help of her comfort cat, her middle-aged roomie, her childhood friend, and a hunky detective hinting at a sweet romance, Brooke not only accepts that Abby has real gifts, it’s clear that these five people and one cat make up a crack team.
Got tea, anyone? In 1773, the Boston Tea Party sure did. Find out why going back in time helps break the case!
#Cozy mystery, #Time travel, #Paranormal, #Murder, #Cats #US History, #Humor
4) It takes a small Village…the Gang of Five’s meeting
The pizza dinner that night was a free-for-all. Henry, Brooke, Larry, Tony, and Abby couldn’t shut up for one second as they each tried to tell everyone the facts they had unearthed. Brooke likened their words to the twelve-tone music Henry had once forced her to hear at New York City’s Lincoln Center. In both cases, there was a mix-master of chaotic noise.
Finally, Larry placed two fingers in his mouth and blasted out a high-pitched whistle.
Dead silence. Except for June’s questioning meow.
“Okay. One at a time,” Larry commanded. “And raise your hand if you want to be heard.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Brooke snapped.
“Especially you, Brooksy. Now, who wants to speak first?”
Everyone shot up his or her hand at the exact same nanosecond.
Sighing, Larry shook his head. Meanwhile, Abby ripped up little pieces of paper, wrote numbers on each one, crumbled them up, and mixed them together in an empty bowl.
“Let’s do it like they do in first grade.” Abby handed out one crumbled paper ball to each person. “Let’s see who has number one.”
Brooke held up her wrinkled paper, triumphantly. “I do, I do. I go first!” she called out.
“See? First grade,” Abby said.
“Okay. Here’s what I found,” Brooke said. “I have a document from the Sheffield Company that includes a few names and initials of their customers. Also, we’ve got an old journal page that gives out names, possible events, and now I’ve got some possible DNA proof that evil can run in families.”
Larry raised his hand. “I’m number two. According to Henry, the Whitman family, who has a history of some pretty shady business practices, now has a lawyer––Ruth Novak’s ex-husband, by the way––who also practices some under-the-table dealings. Turns out, after Cathy and Wynnie were murdered, their dear brother, Michael, made out with millions. Almost instantly. To me, that smells.”
Tony slowly raised his hand. “I’m next. What about Collin? Have we forgotten about him? I know he passed a polygraph, but I found out from an interview with the Whitman maids that he used to be there at their mansion all the time, in his––” He pulled out a small note paid and read his notes out loud. “His fancy suits and expensive shoes. That’s a far cry from the groundskeeper position he has now. I say he had a definite motive for murder, even if he doesn’t come from a––” He added the next two words in air-quotes, ‘evil family.’”
Henry raised his hand halfway. “Since Larry took over my little speech…” He shot a fake dirty look at the detective. “I’m now going to add something about Michael Whitman. He not only got a large inheritance. He left their home years before. In fact, in his high school yearbook, when asked what his goal was in life, he actually wrote, ‘To leave home and my family as soon as possible.’ To me, he wasn’t so thrilled with any of them. And boy, one look at his photograph back then, and you could see the anger written all over his face.”
After some general mutterings, everyone turned to Abby.
“Okay, my turn,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about all of this. A lot. I keep coming back to one thing, besides the evil family, I mean. And that is, what’s the significance of the journal? How can we connect that with our modern life?”
As everyone sat still, even Junie paused during mid fur-washing lick to gaze up at the clairvoyant.
Brooke shot up her hand. “Ooooh-oooh! I know!”
“She’s definitely in first grade,” Larry said.
Jacquie, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I so appreciate it!!
I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!