Tag Archive for: Debra H. Goldstein

Hacked and I am so Hacked!

Hacked and I am so Hacked! by Debra H. Goldstein

I woke up recently to a flood of e-mails from friends telling me that my Instagram account had been hacked during the night. Great! I’d wanted to sleep late and now I had to handle the aftermath of being hacked. It was such a little thing. They took my official Instagram name and added a _. I was hacked about being hacked.

Several people wrote that they had reported the hacking. For that, I was grateful, especially because I didn’t know what to do respecting an Instagram hack. Frustrated, I went to the Help section and typed in “Fake accounts.”  Wrong!

Although the articles listed were close, they weren’t on point to someone impersonating me. Figuring the impersonation was key, I typed that in and found directions I could follow. I filled in the form, as required, but balked at having to send a government ID with my picture (what if it was another hack?), but finally did — with my thumb strategically placed to block my driver’s license number (which didn’t keep anyone from learning my address). Having to provide this ID made me almost feel more violated than the hack did. Steam was coming from my ears. Oh, was I hacked!

Then, I realized it was the weekend. I had no idea what time it was where whomever was going to review my report was nor when they would get to it. Being resourceful I went to my Instagram account and tried to post a comment about being hacked. Zilch luck doing that. I needed to post a picture. Okay, next step was typing a hacked message in word, taking a picture of it with my phone, uploading it to my account. TMI and Too Much Time, but it was done.

Messages started coming in that people were appreciative of knowing about the hack and were removing themselves from the new account and taking the hacker, who they now found following them, off as a follower. What an annoyance for all.

I’m hacked at being hacked. Have you ever been hacked? How did you handle it?

 

Is There Such a Thing as a Perfect Wedding? by Debra H. Goldstein

Summer is wedding time, and when my friend Debra H. Goldstein’s newest book arrived with a wedding theme, I couldn’t wait to dive in and ask her Just One Question: Is there such a thing as a perfect wedding? Debra’s answer is below, along with a chance to win her latest terrific mystery, Five Belles Too Many! Take it away, Debra! — Shari Randall/Meri Allen

When I think about a “perfect wedding,” I think about a beaming beautiful bride and a thrilled groom. They only have eyes for each other as they happily share their vows, oblivious to everything else at the moment their union is sanctified. It is a wonderful illusion.

Wedding reality differs – none are ever perfect.

From the moment a couple decides to get married, tension ensues. One may want a large wedding, the other a small wedding and the parents may have a third idea as to what they can afford. There may be religious differences that impact who the chosen officiant will be or the venue that can be used. Are there allergies that prevent the use of flowers? Is there a venue rule that prohibits animals which makes it difficult to have the couple’s dog be the ring bearer? Do the parents like the groom or bride? Is there a bridezilla or Mamazilla involved?

Even if all of the pre-ceremony issues can be resolved, things can go wrong during the ceremony. Someone may faint. Rain may disrupt the planned outdoor wedding. Bees may beset a fruit display used as the centerpiece for food being served on the lawn. The rings may be lost or, as happened during my wedding, instead of being tied to the pillow with a slip knot, the six-year-old ringer bearer may re-tie them with double knots so he won’t drop them going down the aisle. To this day, I remember the best man, when asked for the rings twice, saying, “Dammit, Rabbi, I’m trying!” as he feverishly unknotted them.

In the newly released fifth Sarah Blair mystery, Five Belles Too Many, I incorporate the concept of the “perfect Southern wedding” with what happens behind the scenes of reality TV shows. In Five Belles, a New York TV show comes to Wheaton, Alabama to tape five finalist couples vying to win that “perfect Southern wedding.” Four couples are in their twenties, but the fifth couple is Sarah Blair’s sixty-plus-year-old mother, Maybelle, and her friend, George. They entered the contest on a lark, although Maybelle was sure they had a good shot at being finalists because of the demographic need for an older couple.

The show requires the five competing Southern Belles to each have a chaperone. Because Sarah’s twin, Chef Emily, works at night and Mother Maybelle doesn’t want to inconvenience any of her friends, Sarah is forced into the role. Not only does Sarah have mandatory chaperone duties, but she also must juggle her law firm day job and caring for her furry pets, RahRah and Fluffy. What makes it even worse is that the show contracted with Sarah’s greatest nemesis, Jane Clark, to have the contestants and chaperones stay at Jane’s bed and breakfast. Mother Maybelle assures Sarah it won’t be a big deal because she’ll be sleeping most of the time she’s at Jane’s Place, but, unfortunately, on the first night the TV show’s producer is murdered and Jane is found kneeling over his body with blood on her hands. When it is decided that the show must go on, Sarah must find the true killer before any more of the contestants or crew are permanently eliminated.

For a chance to win a copy of Five Belles Too Many (U.S. only), tell me, do you have any “perfect wedding” stories like what happened with the rings at mine?

 

Oh Where, Oh Where has my launch gone? by Debra H. Goldstein

Oh Where, Oh Where has my
launch gone? by Debra H. Goldstein

June 28 is the release date from Kensington of my fifth
Sarah Blair novel, Five Belles Too Many. As I write this blog, three days
before it will appear on the Stiletto Gang blog, I have yet to confirm a physical
launch location (which would be in mid-July). That’s unusual for me.

 

When One Taste Too Many, the first book in the series, was
published, there was a table at Barnes & Noble at the Summit in Birmingham
and not only did I have the initial signing there, but two nights later, I had
an indie signing at Little Professor. Both were successes and the events were repeated
when Two Bites Too Many was released. And then, a few weeks later, after I had additional
live signings in Alabama, as well as in California, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee,
Texas, and Colorado, the world shut down because of Covid.

 

We weren’t sophisticated with virtual panels and signings
during the height of Two Bites Too Many’s

release, but we definitely were by
the time Three Treats Too Many and Four Cuts Too Many were published. I crisscrossed
the country doing zoom presentations. It wasn’t the same as being able to sign
books live for readers, but it did give me an opportunity to partner with
writers I adore from other parts of the country for the same presentation. I
was sure by the time, Five Belles was published, I’d be able to have a launch
similar to my first ones, but that isn’t the case.

 

B&N in my area of the world has not returned to live signings.
Our indies are beginning to do events, but with certain health protocols still
being followed. I am in limbo. I’m ready to meet fans in person again, but I’m
not jumping through hoops to make the live signing happen. Instead, I’m taking
a step back and watching and waiting, figuring the official live launch may be
replaced by smaller bookstore gatherings in July and August.

 

In one way, it is a shame. Five Belles Too Many is my
second favorite book in the series. In it, Sarah is forced to chaperone her
mother when Maybelle is a finalist to win the perfect Southern wedding. When
the reality TV show’s producer is found dead with Sarah’s greatest nemesis
kneeling by the body, Sarah must find the true killer before any more of the
contestants or crew are permanently eliminated. 

Because of the humor and nature
of the book it would be fun to interact with a live audience, but that’s not to
be. In the meantime, I’m
going ahead with virtual plans, including a takeover of Joanna Slan’s Readers
on June 20 and an incredibly special Summer Blast/New Release Party with three
other cozy authors, Terry Ambrose, Maggie Toussaint/Volana Jones, and Nancy J.
Cohen, on June 28 from 7-8 EST. I’ll also be participating in a Great Escapes
Tour (June 17-30) and visiting other blogs including The Wickeds, Jungle Red
Writers, Chicks on the Case, Dru’s Book Musings, and Mystery Lovers Kitchen. The
fun part of the parties and blogs for readers is that there will be plenty of
prizes to be won. I’ll also be offering additional prizes if you are a newsletter
subscriber (you can sign up on my website – https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com ).

 

For more chances to read reviews, win prizes, and find out
how Five Belles is taking off, don’t forget to visit me on:

Twitter: @DebraHGoldstein,

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debrahgoldstein/
, or

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/debra-h-goldstein
.

 

Or, make my day by pre-ordering a copy of Five Belles Too
Many
from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite indie bookstore. We’ll
call it being part of the silent launch.

 

How do you feel about not having as many live signings? 

Come Read-A-Long with Me

Come Read-A-Long with Me by
Debra H. Goldstein

I’m excited! Five Belles Too Many, which will be
released on June 28, 2022. In anticipation, I’m throwing a multi-month celebration
virtual Read-A-Long to give readers an opportunity to discuss each of the books
in the Sarah Blair series and to ask this author anything you ever wanted to
know.

 

In March, we discussed One Taste Too Many. The
session was a huge success. Not everyone who was on the Zoom call had read the
book, but it didn’t matter. We talked about concepts, themes, and why I did
certain things without giving away any of the plot spoilers.

 

The next Read-A-Long, on April 19, features the second book
in the series, Two Bites Too Many. Subsequent months will cover the next
books until we pop the cork and celebrate the birth of Five Belles Too Many in
July 2022. To join in the fun email me at DHG@DebraHGoldstein.com to get the
study guide and the zoom link. Put on your calendar:

 

When: April 19 – Two
Bites Too Many

May 17 – Three Treats
Too Many

June 21 – Four Cuts
Too Many

July 19 – Five
Belles Too Many

Time: 7 PM CST/ 8 PM
EST (and you can figure out the rest)      

 

The remainder of the series, Three
Treats Too Many, Four Cuts Too Many,
and of course, Five Belles
Too Many,
will be our topics for the May, June, and July sessions. The
goal is to have fun and gain a better understanding of these books culminating
in the month when Five Belles is published.

I mentioned above that I am celebrating the journey of the
Sarah Blair series, and I am. I have had a blast writing Sarah, the woman who
is more afraid of the kitchen than murder, but more importantly, it has been a
joy getting to know you, the readers.

 

Want to catch up on Sarah Blair so you’re ready for the big
finish in July? You can pre-order Five Belles. start at the beginning of the
series (Amazon has the e-version of One Taste Too Many on
sale for $1.99) or come in any week you want as the books, while a series, each
standalone. Sarah, RahRah, and Fluffy hope to see you on April 19th to talk about Two Bites Too Many!

Untitled Post


Reflections on Today – My
Birthday by Debra H. Goldstein

Today is my birthday. It isn’t a special birthday, but it
is another notch in my belt of life. Another year around the sun. And a
reminder that the years seem to each be moving faster than the one before.

 

When I was a child, I devoured books. If it was hot
outside, I preferred to be indoors, where it was cooler, reading. My mother
felt that I needed to get out of the house and play for at least an hour on
those hot days. I specifically remember once, when there were no neighborhood
children to play with (which always took care of the hour plus), I was forced
to entertain myself outside for the hour. I sat on our front stoop periodically
checking my watch only to be dismayed at how slowly time moved. That hour was
an eternity. Today, an hour goes by so fast that it melds into other hours and
the entire day passes before I know it.

 

One other thing I’ve noticed is that I no longer am the
young hotshot. I’ve reached the age where people say “ma’am,” offer me senior
drinks before I ask for them, and at club and organization meetings, I am
respected for my institutional knowledge. The honors coming my way aren’t
titled “Top women under thirty” or “Rising Star.” Instead, they are more like
“Fifty Over Fifty.”

 

Being seasoned has its benefits – seeing my children happy
in marriages and careers; having grandchildren; AARP and other discounts; and
being able to use Rhett Butler’s “I don’t give a damn” line whenever I want.
The sad part is knowing that there are less years left than have passed so
there are things I would like to see or experience that I may not.

 

The latter thought is sad, but I’m not going to dwell on
it. For now, I’m going to happy dance and celebrate this birthday!  (By the way, I’m not Poppy, but I loved this picture of one of granddogs wishing my husband a happy birthday) How do you feel about birthdays?

Love and Humor is in the Words


Love and Humor is in the Words
by Debra H. Goldstein

Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. Cards and
chocolates are flying off the shelves; flowers are being delivered. Here and
there, on bent knee with ring in hand, there are even a few proposals of
marriage being offered and accepted. It’s nice, but sometimes, there’s fun to
be had at the expense of “love.” That’s exactly what I do in my upcoming Sarah
Blair book, Five Belles Too Many.

 

I will admit that my NY editor loved the book and I giggle
just thinking about different things in it. The premise of a reality show where
the prize is a perfect wedding is simple. The complications are that the story
is set in fictional Wheaton, Alabama and the wedding is being dubbed the
perfect Southern wedding. Although different vendors are vying to be chosen for
their invitations, flowers, food, and venue, the conflict comes from the
finalists.

 

There are five finalist couples, who each represent a
different segment of the population or

demographic. Being Alabama, there must
be a couple who pull for Alabama and another who are die-hard Auburn fans.
Mixing things up also requires a pure as the land couple (think Beverly
Hillbillys) and one with a more goth edginess. The fifth couple is the charmer,
though. That couple is Sarah Blair’s sixty plus mother, Maybelle, and her
friend, George, who is a decade older than Maybelle. If you’ve read earlier
Sarah Blair books, particularly Two Bites Too Many,
you know Maybelle is feisty and well able to care for herself; but, all belles
in the competition must have a chaperone.

 

That’s where Sarah come in. It seems silly to have a sixty
plus bride-to-be with two grown daughters chaperoned, but rules are rules. So,
twenty-eight-year-old Sarah is drafted as her mother’s chaperone. And that’s
where the fun and humor begin.

 

Although I may be prejudiced, Five Belles Too Many
was the most fun to write and one I think will keep you chuckling while also
enjoying the more serious plotline. Five Belles Too Many
will be published in June 2022 but is already available for pre-order.
One of the reasons I think I enjoyed delving into the reality show world was
that years ago, I was a Jeopardy contestant (and no, I didn’t have a streak
like Amy’s). Were you ever on a reality show?

Resolutions? by Debra H. Goldstein

Resolutions? by Debra H. Goldstein

January
14. Two weeks since 2022 began. If you are like me, two weeks is more than
enough time to have broken every resolution you made or contemplated making.
That’s why, this year I didn’t make any resolutions. Instead, I decided to roll
with the flow.

 

How’s
that going? I’m not sure. I seem to be weaving down a lot of different paths.
Some of them are fun to explore, but many are dead ends. Of course, even when I
know which way I’m going, there have been many unforeseen obstacles ranging
from the soaring Omicron numbers to realizing my new sneakers look pretty but
don’t fit my orthotics and feet well for extended walking.

 

My
writing seems to be following the same pattern as my life. Instead of resolving
to write a set number of words a day or so many stories a month, I’ve been
letting the muse guide me. How’s that going? Not well. I’m playing a lot more
solitaire than I should be. What’s worse, I’m repeatedly surfing the net to see
if there are any unread news stories, touching human interest articles, or
exciting things reported by friends.

 

The
latter makes me happy for them; but, if they are writers, it also prompts a
little jealousy. Why are they getting things accomplished and I’m not? I guess they
made resolutions that they are carrying through. There are still fifty weeks in
2022. I think there’s still time for me to make and act on a few resolutions.
What about you?

 

An Open Letter to Stiletto Gang Readers from Debra H. Goldstein

Dear Stiletto Gang Readers,

I’m one of those people who still writes Holiday Letters
and shoves them into my Seasons Greetings cards that are sent to friends I
haven’t seen in years, but still feel close to. You are a different breed of
folks, but I, as well as the other members of the Stiletto Gang, have a special
affinity with you.

 

You fulfill our dreams by reading the words we write. At
the very moment we feel down or lost, one of you posts a good review, sends a
postcard or e-mail, or makes a social media comment that lifts our spirits up.
Your support of our work keeps us actively involved in an unpredictable
business world.

 

It is a world of editor and publisher subjectivity balanced
by dollar signs. Very few of us become New York Times bestselling
authors, but you give us the incentive to continue writing even if our expenses
outweigh our profits. All writers want to make money, but the reality is that they
don’t. In fact, many authors could make far more by ignoring the voices in
their heads that demand to be expressed. Are we insane or, as some think,
simply stupid?

 

I think the answer boils down to one word: passion. We have
a passion to write that can’t be quelled. Luckily, when it does dim, you
rekindle it. Thank you and happy holidays. Debra  

An Exercise in Motivation


An Exercise in Motivation by Debra H. Goldstein

People who exercise have always fascinated me. One of my
friends thinks she’s in heaven if she gets two long walks in during a day;
another one can’t survive without at least four yoga classes a week; one installed
a dance bar and mirror in her home because ballet moves make her happy; and,
then there’s the one who doesn’t feel satisfied unless he does an equipment
circuit followed by at least a mile of laps in the pool. Although I like these
people, I don’t understand them.

Exercise does not send little happy messages to my brain. It
doesn’t make my aches and pains of aging go away. Rather, it usually increases
them – like the time I raised my arm over my head and tore my rotator cuff.
Despite various promises to myself that I will exercise, I usually can find an
excuse to avoid it.

The pandemic proved to be a great excuse. After all, we were
told to stay out of crowded places where people touched everything. That took
care of the gym. We were told to wear masks. A bathing cap is one thing, but
the thought of breathing through a soggy mask in the pool was too gross to even
try. Rain and cold weather precluded outdoor walking (at least for me – you
should have seen my diehard neighbor in her Northern long winter coat,
earmuffs, and gloves breaking a sweat). But, I knew I had to make an effort.

So, after much TV watching of people sitting on a couch and
peddling what looked like an elliptical that lost its top, I ordered one. It is
cute and neither it nor the pad to keep it from sliding on the floor take up
much room in my office. To motivate myself, I said I could watch a show with
talking heads (and the time in the corner of the screen) only if I was
peddling. It worked until the night I was too tired to do anything except watch
from the comfort of my oversized large chair.

Eventually (several days later), I forced myself to go back
to my routine. Things seemed to be going reasonably well with my modified
exercise program (it wasn’t daily because, as I told myself, my body needed to
only be stressed alternate days), until disaster struck. I went to move my
Cubii Jr and somehow I picked up the slip pad, the telephone rang, I dropped
the pad, and when I came back, I discovered the pad had dropped draping the machine
like a shroud. I haven’t had the heart to move it.

There are times that my motivation to write is like my
desire to exercise – shrouded. All the carrots I dangle in front of myself – I
have a good idea, it’s nice to see a piece accepted, this is why you left your
day job, so you really should put some effort into it, are meaningless. The
adage of just putting my bottom in my chair and writing only works as far as
where I place my derriere.

I tell myself that not writing, like not exercising, is bad
for me. My mind counters that by noting I’m still alive, so not exercising
hasn’t compromised me too much. But then, I realize it has. I weigh more and
lack the stamina for going up hills or walking long distances that I had a few
years ago. I understand that if I don’t start moving, there won’t be as many
options for me to move in the future. It’s the same with my writing. If I don’t
do it, the momentum I’ve started building will die and the ideas will shrivel
in my brain. Not a pleasant thought.

It’s time to start writing and then to uncover my Cubii Jr.
What about you? What writing or reading goal is it time for you to uncover (and
how do you feel about exercise?)?