Weekend with Friends by Dru Ann Love

by Dru Ann Love

Every year me and two of my friends plan a weekend getaway. We’ve been to Boston, Denver, Savannah, and most recently Memphis and Tennessee. Whatever is our destination, I always look to see if I have any author friends in the area and plan a lunch. I like to introduce them to the authors and the books they write. In most cases, they do tend to make a purchase or two.

This past weekend, we did the touristy things, Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks march to the fountain in Memphis and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, and the Musicians Hall of fame. But the most entertaining activity was meeting the authors and one of them was Lois Winston. We picked the Margaritaville restaurant for lunch, but who knew they had live music that just never stopped. It was hard hearing conversations if you weren’t nearby. It was great seeing Lois and my other friends.

When you travel, do you seek out friends to visit?

Going in . . .by Dru Ann

This past month, I got on a plane or two or three to attend two reader/fan conventions.

First was to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Left Coast Crime convention. This was the first time I was in a crowd of over 100 people. Was I anxious, yes, but that feeling of being among your tribe took over and except for a few blips, I had a wonderful time. In New Mexico, the mask wearing was optional. I wore my mask when I was in mixed company, meaning if I didn’t know three-quarters of the group, my mask went all. Hugs were plenty, but I asked before giving out hugs. I was on a panel “Decades of Books” and it was cool research books during a section decade. We received kudos for our panel. As for the airplane ride, mask was still mandatory, so I was feeling comfortable on my flight. Next year, Left Coast Crime will be in Tucson, Arizona where I will be Fan Guest of Honor.

Second trip was to Bethesda, Maryland for the Malice Domestic convention. This time the mask mandate was lifted, but I still wore my mask. My guess is that 75% still wore their mask. I was Fan Guest of Honor this year and moderated a panel “Writing a Series: Keeping it Fresh” with Edith Maxwell, Amanda Flower, Cheryl Hollon, SC Perkins, and Barbara Ross. After the panel, there were continual compliments on how well it went. At the banquet, after my speech, I was surprised when I received a standing ovation.

The best part of the month of April and attending these conventions, was I got to be with my crime fiction family after an absence of two years and it felt so good.

Expectations vs. Reality by Dru Ann Love

When you pick up the first book in a series, you are introduced to the main protagonist, her friends, the small town that she lives in and the other residents that will come in and out of her daily life. Note: could also be a male protagonist as well.

We love the characters and the small-town atmosphere, and we love that she is probably besting the local police force in solving the crime. And now the murderer has been caught in this delightfully charming town that I want to move to.

Until book two, three, four and so forth. So how many more murders in this small-town that I’ve come to love will happen?

By now, the local cops may or may not seek out our protagonist to help solve the murder. Question of the day, why don’t they put her on retainer as a consultant? Why doesn’t she just join the police force? You know why? Because there would not be a next book.

And yet we continue to hope we see a murder in the early chapters of the book as we along with our favorite amateur sleuth, solve the case while we try to figure it out before she does. And still want to move to that small town.

These are little things I think about when I’m reading books in my favorite long-running series.

What about you? What do you think about when reading your series?

End of year ramblings by Dru Ann Love

It’s my turn to post and I have no idea what to talk about.

Many people are putting out their top or best list. I did it last year and found it was very hard to pick 10 books and in the back of my head, I don’t want to disappoint my author friends. Like last year, Kaye Barley asked us what books we liked in 2021 and click here (you’ll have to scroll) to see my list.

Due to the current situation that shall remain nameless and due to medical issues, my reading has struggled. In the past, I would have read over 300 books. This year, I read 200. In checking my blog data, I did 35 cover reveals, I introduced 58 new-on-my-blog authors to my readers and published 79 musings. I also introduced a new feature, “word with the author” and it’s a fun way to learn about the authors.

This year I continue to read mostly cozy mysteries as well as traditional mysteries with a smattering of thrillers, domestic suspense, and yes, I read one historical, one magical realism, and one rom-com. I do enjoy Heather Webber’s and Jenn McKinlay’s writing. Are you still reading the same genre, or have you left your comfort zone?

The funny thing about the books I’m eager to read is despite my love of cozy mysteries, the books I’m eager to read are non-cozies. What is up with that? Oh the 2022 books I’m eager to read are of course, Abandoned in Death and Desperation in Death by J.D. Robb, and then Kellye Garrett’s Like A Sister, The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths, and The Hidden One by Linda Castillo. But then again when I look down my list, there are a few cozies with a wedding theme that I’m eager to read, Wedding Bell Blues by Lynn Cahoon and Murder in a Cape Cottage by Maddie Day. Then there is a slew of cozy mysteries that are too many to list that’s on my list, one in particular, Muddled Through by Barbara Ross, which I can’t wait to see what happens next with Julia. What books are you looking to read in 2022?

What else can I talk about?

Oh, I miss attending reader/fan conventions and I truly, truly hope that we can finally gather in 2022. I’m already registered for Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic (where I’m fan guest of honor), and Bouchercon. Are you planning to attend?

I hope everyone have a Happy New Year.

Caddyshack revisited by Dru Ann Love

We have pigeons. They can be annoying when they gather. Especially on my balcony railing.

I’ve tried everything. Shooing them off the balcony. Spritzing them with water. And yet the continue to land on my railing and make a mess. Now they come onto the balcony and walk around leaving a mess there as well. So the battle has begun in earnest.

Repellent ribbons, they worked well until rain caused the ribbons to shrivel up and lose their shine.

Repellent device #1, they did keep the pigeons away, but they made too much noise when it swung against the glass panel

Spinners, they worked fine until mother nature unleashed strong winds and spun my spinners from their pole into the ground below. Later I found remnants of my spinners.

Repellent device #2, same strong winds took these away as well.

Spikes, I took a gamble and bought these spikes. After losing the spinners, I put one strip up and watch a pigeon land on my railing, take a few steps and encountered my spikes and flew away. Victory, but now I have to wait to see what mother nature will do to these spikes before I put the rest down.

Do you have troublesome pests?

Rambles from a reader by Dru Ann Love

I have nothing.

I was going to give you stats from my blog, but decided it wasn’t important for this blog. Check out my blog at drusbookmusing.com. Would you like seeing those stats?

I was going to talk about return to the office – first week in July. Have you returned back to the office?

I was going to talk about my adventure last week – first time back in the city and met a few friends for lunch. Lots of chatting and hugs galore was given. It felt good to eat in a restaurant and laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Have you been in and about lately?

I was going to talk about the struggle with my reading. It still takes me a week and a half to read one book. One. Book. – How is your reading?

I was going to talk about movies – Have you seen “In The Heights?”

I was going to talk about streaming channels – my favorites are Netflix and Amazon Prime. What’s your favorite?

I was going to talk about TV watching – there is nothing on TV these days. My TV viewership is down, down, down. What about you? Are you watching less TV?

I was going to talk about traveling – I’m getting on a plane to visit my mom. What about you, any travel plans?

I was going to talk about virtual conferences – I’m looking forward to attending More Than Malice. Are you going? You can register here.

I was going to talk about reader convention – Bouchercon is in August and I’m going. It’s my celebration for the year I had and also I get to see my friends. Are you going? You can register here.

Thank you for reading my ramblings.

Anticipation by Dru Ann Love

The definition of anticipation is an emotion involving pleasure or anxiety in considering or awaiting an expected event.

So, what am I anticipating? How about books?

Read more

It’s That Time Again by Dru Ann Love

where I have to come up with a post about whatever. And like always, I have nothing. So I’ll ramble along until my word count reach 150.

How is everyone doing during this pandemic crisis? Me, I’m so-so. 

When you choose to live alone, it is nothing. You go about your business and life goes on. When you’re in a pandemic crisis and live alone, you really are alone. Because I’m immune-challenged, no one could come visit and I was restricted to my home. Once things started settling down, I took that first trip to my doctors. Uber is my friend. I wear a mask, not for you, but for me. I limit going outdoors, not for you, but for me. If I go out, I go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and of course the doctor’s office. I always get the first appointment – less people to encounter. I hit the grocery and pharmacy when they first open, again less people to encounter.

My reading has somewhat suffered. Sometimes it takes me longer to read a book for review, but if I’m reading a book to be read, I can read it in 2 days. When I’m not reading, I’m watching movies or a recorded TV show.

Books I’ve read/am reading:

What I last watched:

I’m also quilting more. It is keeping me busy, figuring out color patterns and designs. I’m always amazed at the finished product.

I miss seeing my friends. I miss attending reader/fan conventions. I miss my girl’s weekend vacation trip.

What I don’t miss is having to climb subway stairs.

How are you handling things?

Virtual Activities by Dru Ann Love

The year is almost three-quarters done and activities that we would have attended in-person are now virtual.

I’ve never gone to a noir before because 1) they are in bars, dark bars 2) they are at night 3) they are never in my neighborhood 4) I prefer not to take trains at night and 5) it is mostly authors I don’t read. Virtual noirs changed that, and I’ve discovered so many authors I would not have blinked twice at if I saw their name. So, hooray for virtual noir. A shout-out to A shout-out to Ed Aymar and Alex Segura.

Then there is zoom. Oh, how I remember the original TV show (%Come on and Zoom, Zoom, zooma-Zoom%). But we are not talking about that. I’ve participated in a zoom talk with Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter, attended a zoom memorial for a favorite author, attended several zoom book launches, and attended many a zoom talks with authors and friends. With one set of friends, we played this game, Spicy Farkel. I like zoom the best because you can interact with people.

Then there are the indie bookstores that are holding book launches as well. I’ve attended several of those and enjoy listening to the Q&As from the book seller. I don’t buy print books, but I will donate to their virtual tip jar – what a great concept.

Then there is Facebook. I’ve attended a few Facebook Live video author events and you are listening to the author and to interact with them, you leave a question in the chat area and the host will ask it for you. Some have book launches in their feed, whether it’s on their page or in a group page, where you have to “refresh” the page. I’m not a fan of constantly having to refresh, but it is a way to interact with the authors one-on-one during the book launch.

Now, here is the BSP – my fellow blogger, Kristopher Zgorski and I have a joint YouTube venture called BOLO*Musings where we talk about books. Another example of being with our friends and talking books. You can see our YouTube videos HERE.

Have you organized or participated in virtual activities? Do you have a preference?

Reading and Meal Deliveries by Dru Ann Love

Reading is my savior. Because I don’t have to commute to work, I miss that routine of an hour of reading before and after work. I lost my reading mojo when this global crisis started, as I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Words were just words to me.

I’m glad I got my reading mojo back, however, I’m struggling with it. Normally I would read two to three books in a week and now it takes me at least one week to finish a book. I think it’s the routine I miss.

No matter what, I continue to read and enjoy the stories being told for my reading pleasure.

How is everyone else doing with their reading?

So in between that, I’ve been trying out a few grocery delivery companies:

  • Amazon Fresh: I get 98% of what I ordered delivered.
  • Instacart: I get at least 85% of what I ordered delivered, so the shopping cart cost always fluctuate.

And home meal deliveries.

  • HelloFresh: The program wouldn’t let me pick my own meal for the first time, so I had to settle on their choice and of the three, the only one I like was the flatbread and that is if I didn’t put the stuff they wanted me to put on it. Plus I had to do prep work. And the reason for cancellation, they did not deliver the box to my apartment door. They left it where the mailbox are and if I would not have said, hey where are they and went down there, someone could have walked away with the box.
  • Now, I’m experimenting with Freshly now. The food is prepared and all I have to do is put it in the oven (it’s meant for a microwave, which I don’t have). In week one, I liked two of my choices. This week I picked something different and we’ll see if I continue beyond that.
  • The other delivery companies all involved prep – yes, I’m lazy like that.

So, have any of you tried grocery deliveries or home meal deliveries?