Tag Archive for: Dru Ann

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.

Talking about polls by Dru Ann Love

It’s that time again when I have to come up with a post. I struggle to find something readerly to talk about that hasn’t been done. I talked about the reader conventions I attended. I talked about the book signings I’ve gone too. I talked about subject matters that interested me.

So I ask, what do you want this avid reader/blogger on a writer’s blog to talk about?

Recently, I introduced weekly reading poll on my dru’s book musings Facebook page. Below are some of the results.

Do you like to have a snack or a drink while reading?

  • Yes (68%)
  • Sometimes (24%)
  • No (8%)

What should the central focus of a story be?

  • Character (49%)
  • Character/Setting/Plot (44%)
  • Plot (27%)

If you were a writer, what genre would you write?

  • mystery (44%)
  • cozy (25%)
  • suspense, thriller (13%)
  • paranormal (9%)
  • romance (9%)
  • historical (6%)
  • romantic suspense (4%)

Have you ever cried or shed a tear or two while reading a book?

  • Yes (98%)
  • No (2%)

Romance in your mysteries?

  • Yes (83%)
  • No (17%)

Type of book you bring when traveling?

  • E-book (74%)
  • Print (49%)
  • Audio (9%)

Do you review the books that you read?

  • Yes (46%)
  • Sometimes (46%)
  • No (8%)

Are there any questions you would like to know from my readers?

Are you surprised at these results?

Writing and Quilting

–by Dru Ann Love

I love to read. Mostly cozies, but I always add in a thriller or a suspense title to add a little variety to my reading entertainment.

My other hobby I enjoy is quilting. Now you are probably wondering what does that have to do with writing. Well, when you write a novel, you have to have an idea, a premise or a concept, then a beginning, a middle and an end. Well the same analogy can be applied to quilting.

First you need the fabric that you want to use

Second, cut out the pieces
Third, build the quilt block

Fourth, add the sashing, the border and this is your top quilt

Next is you add the batting and the backing material and this becomes your quilt sandwich, which you stitched and put a binding on it and you have a finished quilt to be enjoyed by the recipient, just like a finished book.

Can you equate another hobby or activity with the same steps as a book?

December 24, 2018

Can you believe the year is almost coming to an end. Where did 2018 go?

For an introvert and someone with slight mobility issues, I’ve done a lot of traveling this year. I’ve been to Virginia, Maryland, Denver, South Carolina, Bahamas, Florida, Boston, and North Carolina. Looking forward to more adventures next year. It was my first time to visit Denver and Charleston.

My blog is coming along nicely. I love introducing readers of my blog to authors who they may have not known via various other sources. The notes I receive from both authors and readers lets me know that I’m doing the right thing . . . making that reader-author connection.

Other than that, I look forward to what 2019 has to bring. I’m going to these new locations I’ve never been before: Vancouver and Savannah.

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Mystery Conference Talk

I recently attended a MWA-NY event “Making The Most of Mystery Conference” held at the Club Quarters in New York City. Triss Stein and Radha moderated this event with Nancy Bilyeau, Edith Maxwell Jeffrey Siger, and Shawn Reilly Simmons, talking respectively about ThrillerFest, New England Crime Bake, Bouchercon and Malice Domestic.

Each panelist was introduced with a recap on how they became involved and the one key factor that played in most was “the bar.” So, if you want to become part of the inner workings of these mystery conferences, head to the bar.

Then during the next 30 minutes the audience got to hear about each: Malice and Bouchercon are reader/fan conventions while New England Crime Bake and ThrillerFest are writer’s conferences.

Bouchercon is the only one of this group where the location varies each year. This year, the conference is being held in St. Petersburg, Florida, while New England Crime Bake is in Boston, ThrillerFest is in New York City and Malice Domestic is in Bethesda, Maryland.

At the fan conventions you get to mingle with authors and other readers; you attend panels and have a cornucopia of activities for your choosing. Same holds true for writer’s conferences as well as learning more about the craft of writing.

To be on a panel at Malice and Bouchercon, you have to check the box when filling out your registration. At New England Crime Bake, authors are invited to be on a panel and at ThrillerFest, they try to accommodate all authors attending.

In terms of sizes, Bouchercon is the largest with 1,500 attendees, followed by ThrillerFest with 800; Malice at 600 and New England Crime Bake at 300. All numbers are approximate.

They also talked about the costs and it can be a bit expensive: New England Crime Bake ($199 for SinC/MWA members; $229 public); Bouchercon ($225 for St. Petersburg, FL); Malice ($345 includes banquet; $295 Basic) and ThrillerFest (ranges from $150-$1,000+).

All in all, it was a good talk and gave me more clarifications between these four conferences which I was lucky to have attended.

On dru’s book musings, I posted a list of 2018 mystery conferences, click here.

What conferences have you attended in the past? Are you going to any this year? I am and I look forward to seeing you there.

My turn at Bouchercon

First night: First night there, my friend and I took a cab ($15 CAD) to Eva’s Original Chimneys and tried their hand-made ice cream cone – I had the typical vanilla/chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles on the cinnamon coated cone. Yummy. To prevent the ice cream from falling through the bottom, they put a chocolate truffle as the base. We decided we would brave their subway system, which is so cool. We couldn’t just buy a one-way ticket, so we paid $20 for their reloaded card and darn if we couldn’t figure out how to pay for our fare. It was fun taking their subway – although, we couldn’t figure out if we got off the correct stop because we were looking for a particular word – but with help from a train rider we were on our way.

Second day: My friend and I went to Dundas Square / Eaton Centre to take the City Sightseeing Tour, only we planned to stay on the bus for the whole two-hour tour and besides the weather was dismal with rain and a damp day. We saw Casa Loma, Bata Shoe Museum, China Town, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District. Then we decided to walk back to the hotel from within the Eaton Centre mall and the walk wasn’t that bad, since when we came out of the underground mall, we were right next to the clock building. Later I had a pre-convention board meeting and after, there was more hanging out with friends.

Third day: I went to the panel that I was on: Bouchercon 101. We had to tell a story and for the life of me, I could not remember Sue Grafton’s name so instead I said “you know the Y-Lady, the one who writes the alphabet book.” And everyone knew who I was talking about and then the other panelists talked about their encounter with the “Y-Lady.” It was funny.

photo courtesy of John Thomas Bychowski

Later that afternoon, a group of us went to SOMA Chocolatemaker in the Distillery District for a chocolate tasting, where I braved sampling the three different types of dark chocolate and yes, they had one milk chocolate sample. We also got to taste pure chocolate nibs and chocolate dust (that’s what I’m calling it. It which was very informative. Then it was dinner with another group at Maezo Restaurant, an Indian restaurant, where we and shared five dishes. Everything was delicious. Then onto the Opening Ceremony and then the HarperCollins reception.

Fourth day: Then there was the GMM board meeting where we voted four new members on the board. Next up was the Librarian’s Tea where an unexpected event happened – – the fire alarm went off and like the person she is, Hank Phillippi Ryan held court with great aplomb, even incorporating the fire alarm in her talk. Interesting note was the fire alarm had a nice melody as it rang throughout the evening. The evening closed with the Pub Quiz, hosted by the Crime Writers of Canada, which was a barrel of fun. Our team lost with a score of 13 points, but we had a good time.

Fifth day: A group of eleven went to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for an Afternoon Tea event. The Library Room where the tea was held was picture perfect, although one of the picture on the wall was slight skewed. The tea was perfect. I selected the Jasmine tea which was heavenly as was the traditional finger sandwiches and their selection of pastries. Then it was off to the Minotaur reception and the Seventh Street reception.

Photo courtesy of Art Taylor

Sixth day: My last day with the crime fiction tribe. Of course, at 4 in the morning, there was a loud argument outside my door (drunken guests) and soon I heard banging on the doors (not my door). I heard later that security was called. On the agenda, was brunch and the Anthony’s Award. After a few goodbyes, it was time to leave where I encountered a 3-hour delay due to air traffic. Finally arrived home at 11:30 and crashed.

Looking forward to next year’s Bouchercon which is being held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Who will meet me there?

Joyful Joyful

It’s my turn today and I had nothing, so I asked Kay for suggestions and she mentioned writing about “things you do that help you find joy in everyday life when you live in a great but stressful city.“

I found a scale that identifies stress in your life and my score was very low. (The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale). In another article (The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory), the top five ways cited to relieve stress are:

  1. Reading novels or magazines
  2. Watching TV
  3. Renting and watching a video
  4. Learning a new craft or hobby
  5. Camping

Guess what? I do all of them except camping, unless we can call staying at a five-star hotel camping because I did do that.

What things do I do to find joy in my everyday life?

  • I love reading.
  • I love sending a positive message every morning on social media.
  • I love reading the posts that authors write up for dru’s book musings and I always love seeing it when it posts.
  • I love helping authors spread the word about their work on social media.
  • I love *being* with my friends on Facebook.
  • I love traveling, yes, this introvert who would rather be in her own home, love to travel, especially when it is to meet up with friends, old and new.
  • I love being happy.
  • I love fine dining.
  • I love discovering new-to-me authors.
  • I love hanging out with my friends, although few and far between.
  • I love attending mystery conferences and exploring the new cities that I’ve never been to before.
  • And I love that the Mystery Writers of America is honoring me with the Raven Award.

With what is happening in America today, I’m so happy that I still have my books to read and the anticipating of traveling across North America to meet up with friends and talk about books.

So, tell me, what activities do you pursue to relieve stress in your life?


Sorry I’m late. I hope everyone who celebrates during this time had a good time with friends and family.

Do you create lists such as top books read in 2016; number of books read; numbers of books sold; number of books written? I think we all tend to keep stats which gives us a sense of accomplishments.

Here are a few of my stats for 2016.

  • I’ve read 247 books
  • I’ve been to 3 reader/fan conventions (Left Coast Crime, Malice and Bouchercon)
  • I’ve read books by four authors I met at reader/fan convention (Alexandra Sokoloff, Karin Salvalaggio, Susan Elia MacNeal, Liz Milliron)
  • I had 94 authors, for the first-time, appear on my blog

What stats do you have?

Bouchercon Recap

Last week I was at the 2016 Bouchercon convention held in New Orleans. I spent 7 days there and on the fourth day I became sick. Anything that happened after that I do not recall as I was in a zombie-like stage following the flow.

I arrived in New Orleans a couple of days before the start of the convention to get in some sightseeing. First on the agenda was a 2-hour highlights tour of New Orleans. We stopped at Willies for our first taste of New Orleans foods eating Chicken Fingers and it was delicious. Then onto our tour where we saw the sights and sounds of New Orleans that included a stop at St. Louis Cemetery #3, a stop in City Park where we had our first taste of beignets amid a thunderstorm and lightening. Then off to tour Katrina and it’s aftermath. Our final meal of the day was at Creole House where I had the Taste Of The Bayou which is a combination of bayou traditions: Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffée, Red Beans & Rice and Cajun Jambalaya.

The next day we walked to the Aquarium only to find it closed. Then we took the railroad to Jackson Square. We strolled in several of the stores on our way to Café du Monde. We sat in Jackson Square Park and enjoyed the shade and then headed back to the hotel. We had lunch at Palace Café and for our evening meal, we went to Mimi’s for TAPAS. I always wanted to know what it was. I. ATE. DUCK. I also sampled salmon and broccoli, the steak and I ate the grapes from the fig and date dessert.

Tuesday was my day to volunteer, so I helped stack books for the Book Bazaar and was impressed with how it was set-up. Then we took a trip to Central Grocery, home of the Original Muffuletta Sandwich. A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. Then a group of use headed to Napoleon House where I. ATE. ALLIGATOR. It was very gamey but good as I ate all of it while left the regular sausage on my plate.

Wednesday, I went on another on another 2-hour tour, this time St. Louis Cemetery #1, where we saw plenty of mausoleum and shrines. We even saw the tomb that actor Nicholas Cage has built. Then it was off the the BOLO Books soiree where we dined on appetizing snacks and imbibed Lemoncello. A good time was had by all.

Thursday was the first official day of the convention and my panel was at noon. We were given a 3-section room and I was surprised that it filled up as it did. The opening ceremony featured the guest arriving on floats. That was fun.

Saturday I attended Ellen Byron’s book launch for Body on the Bayou at Hall-Barnett Gallery where the appetizers were appetizing and the drinks flowing. Another good time was had.

Have you ever attended an author/reader convention?

Coming out of my comfort zone

I’ve recently attended my sixth Malice Domestic Convention where I had a great time. I came out of one comfort zone when I first attended this conference and stuck like glue to my friend who convinced me to attend. Also, I was traveling all alone to the unknown where I only knew the one person. Six years later, I’m all over the place and I like it.

The following year, I attended my first Bouchercon in St. Louis and once again, I was going into the unknown, traveling to a city I’ve never been to and knowing only a few people. I had a good time and there were moments where it got overwhelming with the crowd that I had to escape to my room. Again, coming out of that comfort zone.

At the Albany Bouchercon, I was asked if I wanted to be on a panel and my immediate answer was “no.” Going forward one year and at the Long Beach Bouchercon, not only was I sitting on a panel, but I was also moderating a panel for the first time. Talk about double anxiety. I was a nervous wreck right up to me sitting on the panel and then moderating one the following day. Again, coming out of that comfort zone.

When I attended Bouchercon Raleigh, there was a comfort zone I was not sure I could do and I’m happy that I didn’t have to address that one.

In February, I headed to Phoenix to attend my first ever Left Coast Crime convention and once again, I was moderating a panel and sitting on a panel and yes I was nervous, but once again, I’m coming out of my comfort zone.

And early in the month, I moderated my first panel at Malice Domestic and yes, I was nervous, but I was better prepared for all that needed to be done and it helped that I had met most of the panelists at other author events. Once again, coming out of that comfort zone.

Next year I tackle another comfort zone, traveling direct (11 hour flight) to Hawaii and I’m thinking I want to wade in the waters in Hawaii. If that is accomplished, that is a BIG coming out of my comfort zone.

So readers, have you come out of your comfort zone and done something you never thought you would?