Friday, June 29, 2012

Join me on Cozy Mystery Magazine today!

Read what I have to say about Beginning with the Ending in Mind. You'll also find my recipe for Fourth of July Potato Salad over in the Cozy Kitchen. See you there!

Nancy Jill's Fourth of July Potato Salad

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


What a delightful experience this morning! Breakfast at the Mad Dogs Cafe. Brenda's homemade lightly buttered crumpet with strawberry jam was superb. The cappuccino was so lovely that my husband bought their signature cups to take home, just so we could relive the memory!

The Mad Dogs Cafe in Pacific Beach, California

Enjoy a lovely cappuccino with your breakfast!
Homemade crumpets with  strawberry jam, honey, or lemon curd - to die for!             
Meet Brenda - Owner and Creator of Mad Dogs Cafe. Brenda bakes everything from scratch!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Sigh! I love being in airports. I love seeing all the people, all the workers, all the different luggage. I love watching the ticket agents, the pilots and crew members getting ready for their next flight. The airport environment is so stimulating to me. There is life here! And if all this was not enough fun, there are interesting people to sit next to on the plane. I'm still friends with many of them on Facebook, staying in touch. Call me crazy, but I believe you can meet some of the nicest people on earth at an airport. Today I'll be in Laguardia, Midway, and San Diego. Sigh...I really hate for it to end. (Yes, I'm probably crazy!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


1. I'm a Believer!
2. I'm happily married.
3. I have plenty to eat.
4. I have a place to sleep every night.
5. I am in great health.
6. I have wonderful children.
7. I have wonderful grandchildren.
8. I have a rewarding writing career. 
9. I have too many friends to count.
10. I have no time to complain.

Can you count 10 reasons to be jumping for joy? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Every so often one just needs to kick back and relax! That's exactly what I did today. No alarm going off at 5 am, no schedule...just doing things as they came. It feels good to let down after getting my latest book details edited and published. I think we'll even go out to dinner so I won't have to cook or clean up the kitchen. Who's with me? Rosie's Pho, here we come! (I love their Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Yum!) Have a great evening, ya'll. (You know I'm from Texas, right?)


Something’s fishy at the Ritz…and it doesn’t sit well on a cracker!  


My Review

By Scarlett Rains

Murder in Half Moon Bay, (Jillian Bradley Mysteries, No. 1) is an entertaining, fast-paced, read. Nancy Jill Thames’s clever protagonist, Jillian Bradley, doesn’t miss a beat.  She, and her garden club friends, arrives at the West Coast Garden Club Society’s Annual Conference in Half Moon Bay expecting to relax, spend the weekend gleaning gardening tips, whiling away pleasant hours surveying plant specimens, and sampling great food.  Jillian quickly realizes there is something fishy going on at the Ritz…and she’s not talking about fertilizer! The soil at the Ritz-Carton doesn’t need enrichment.  Bodies are popping up over there faster than bean sprouts on steroids!  Good thing Jillian is not only a gardening expert, but a VERY good listener, a keen observer of detail…and a list-maker.  Put all that together, stir in the ‘contributions’ of Teddy (Jillian’s little Yorkie –who may just be telepathic!) and you’ve got yourself a great potting mix for a budding detective. 
As Nancy Jill Thames’s delightful story unfolds, a botanist might prove more useful than the FBI or the local police department.  All sorts of cross-pollination seems to be going on, what with social butterflies flitting around, landing in who knows whose room, and things taking root where they never should have been planted!   I’m not one for spoilers, but there are weeds that need pulling at the Ritz-Carlton and Jillian’s just the gal for the job. She and her friends waste no time. They get to work, digging in the dirt, to solve the mystery.
I enjoyed Thames’s family-friendly mystery very much.  This charming book earned 4/5 hearts. I would have given it 5/5, but one of the plot points troubled me.  As brilliant as Jillian clearly is, I couldn’t see a police chief allowing her to question suspects, until later in the series —after she establishes her stellar reputation as a sleuth. That trifle aside, Murder in Half Moon Bay is the sort of book to enjoy on a rainy day, snuggled in a recliner with a nice cup of Jillian’s favorite, Lady Earl Grey, tea.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a clever mystery that’s not soaked in blood and gore.  I look forward to reading all of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries.

Book Description (per Amazon)

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

When a shocking murder disrupts the West Coast Garden Club Society's second annual conference, gardening columnist Jillian Bradley joins with Chief Frank Viscuglia to help in the investigation. Could it be the mean spirited conference director? Perhaps it's the wealthy widow on the make for her next husband; or maybe the killer is the haughty business woman who shows no regard for her brow beaten husband.

Set in beautiful Half Moon Bay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Jillian moves through the exclusive hotel property, local nurseries, colorful restaurants, and private mansions searching for the truth, pausing with her friends for cups of afternoon tea along the way. She uncovers a series of mysterious events that lead to solving several murders, both past and present. With the help of her garden club friends and her Yorkshire terrier 'Teddy', Jillian discovers not only a killer, but a far greater menace that could threaten us all.

Product Details
·         Paperback: 178 pages
·         Publisher: CreateSpace (April 10, 2012)
·         Language: English       

      ISBN-10: 1452882088
·         ISBN-13: 978-1452882086

Monday, June 18, 2012




Friday, June 15, 2012


Sometimes I could just explode with happiness! Do you ever feel that way? Sure, it's partly temperament, but I believe it's also a choice. No matter what happens, we can decide to find the good in any situation. Try it today and see what happens. I think you'll find you'll feel happier if you do. 

Blessings on your day, dear friends!
~Nancy Jill

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Ever wonder why someone else seems to be more successful than you are? For me, the journey to success is often blocked with spending too much time doing unimportant things. Confession: I spend too much time on Facebook, but I do have 650 friends to keep up with, right? Okay, maybe I should only check posts three times a day instead of fifty. Hmm. That might give me more time to write! 

Habits take at least 21 days of repeating before they become one. Today, I will begin to check Facebook this evening. Tomorrow I will only check it in the morning, at noon, and before I go to bed. What about you? Are you a Facebook junkie?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Ever wonder what the word "fun" means to you? Going out on the weekends? Disneyland? A cruise? Okay, I'll admit, breaks are nice but come on, be honest.  You're sitting there at dinner, or on a bench at Disneyland, or where ever, and you think, I'm bored. Well, maybe it's just us creative types who get bored. Anyway, what I've found is that when I'm doing something I love to do (writing murder mysteries, serving afternoon tea, or making dinner for my grandchildren) I'm having FUN! Because within those activities I feel I matter, and validation is what we all really need to feel good. What does "having fun" mean to you?

Saturday, June 9, 2012


One of our favorite drinks for the summer is a tonic with a twist of lime. We use diet-tonic water and enjoy a refreshing beverage with almost zero calories. Close your eyes and visualize me handing you a freshly made glass. Perfect for sipping as you get comfy, settle in, and begin to read your favorite cozy mystery. Here's to you! What? No cozy mystery to read? No problem! Just click on the slideshow and you can download a book. Enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012


 I just changed my blog to reflect my true intent. I'm hoping to connect with all you cozy mystery lovers out there! I will still share positive thoughts and ideas about life in general. 

Welcome to the new format!

Have a lovely weekend, and I'll see you Monday for "Queen of Afternoon Tea" Celebrity Author Interview with Ada Brownell.


Up the "Down" Ladder
Sometimes a person suffering from depression just needs a friend to talk to. And a friend like Dolores Ayotte would be an excellent choice. In her book, "Up the "Down" Ladder", Dolores shares insights from her experience with depression and simple steps to manage it. She cites numerous authorities on the subject, and writes the book in a conversational way, just as if she and the reader were sharing over a cup of coffee. If you are a person suffering from depression, I would highly recommend reading this book. Sometimes, you just need a friend.Thanks for being mine!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Paperback $13.95 Kindle $6.99
Thought I'd share a review I just gave for an excellent writer and celebrity author friend of mine.

Promises of the Heart, written by Scarlett Rains, is an eighteenth century tale of a young girl’s coming of age. The first thing I really liked about this book was the lovely graphics reflecting the time period in London, England. The reader is also pulled into the story at once with carefully crafted prose appealing to all five senses. For example: watching the fluffy clouds lazily form shapes that quickly swirled into other shapes in the gentle breeze…a cacophony of sounds bombarded the weary coachman: the hue and cry of merchants and street people rose up above the clopping of the horses hooves in a relentlessly forlorn lament. Scarlett Rains does a masterful job on style continuity throughout the entire novel. Somewhat like Charles Dickens, but more like the Victoria Holt novels I read profusely at one time in my life, Promises of the Heart resonates with cleverly woven intrigue surrounded by authentic characters of the day. Historical novels should inform about the life and times of the era—Promises of the Heart did not disappoint! The segue to her second novel Seduction of a Bluestocking was a perfect cliffhanger, enticing the reader to find out what happens next. Well done, Scarlett Rains! Five Stars!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


School's out! Hooray! Now
what do we do? Well, as a stay at home mom with not a whole lot of disposable income for expensive summer camps, I created my own diversion for the kiddies. Every week day had a theme: Library Day, Friend Day, Park and Picnic Day, Swim Day, and Craft Day. All the neighborhood kids were invited to participate and we had a blast! My favorite was Park and Picnic Day when we took a lunch and fed the ducks. Fond memories that our children will never forget. Nor will their friends. And now, my son's friend who was such an integral part of those summer vacations is studying for the Bar Exam...Will you be making memories for your children this summer? And then there's Camp Grandma Fun...but that's another story. Enjoy your summer, my friends.  

P.S. And don't forget to get a copy of my new book for your summer reading list. Thank you!

"PACIFIC BEACH" Kindle $3.99  or Paperback $9.89


Monday, June 4, 2012


CELEBRITY AUTHOR                                    


Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of peppermint tea; I heard it was your favorite. By the way, I've included your recipe at the end of the interview. Please help yourself to a roast beef and  brie sandwich. We also have a black raspberry torte for dessert.

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hey there! I live in Leander, Texas with my family. I’m a mother of three beautiful kiddies. I have two boys and a girl (7, 5, and 3). I love to write (obviously) and I played the marimba and occasionally paint. I also teach the children music at my church. My favorite things to do usually involve do things outdoors in beautiful places, and spending time with my kids. I’m also extremely addicted to writing. I basically write for work AND pleasure. I’m also pursuing an English/Creative Writing degree from Southern New Hampshire University. I’m a Navy veteran, and served for six years between 2000 and 2006. I’ve traveled to many different states, and have been overseas. I decided to stay home with my kiddies while they were young (military life was super hard for my oldest when he was a baby so I wanted to slow things down a bit). Now, I’m gradually getting back into the real world since they are getting closer to school age. I feel like I’ve lived two totally different lives. I understand the working world and the stay at home mother world pretty well. I enjoy writing for women, teens, and I also like to write stories for a general audience. I do fiction as well as theater and I have a goal to add screen plays to my list of accomplishments at some point. I’ll have the opportunity to learn screen play format sometime during my degree program.

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?
Well, I’m published through Twenty or Less Press and Books to Go Now. I do not represent myself, but those publishers are small, and they are considered Indie Publishers simply because of their size. Each one seems to be specializing in a certain chunk of the e-book market. I highly recommend them for any author who doesn’t have a lot of capital to invest in their own writing, but who would still like to get something out there. They do short stories and novellas mainly, and will do editing, promotion, and cover art at no extra cost—they just take a percentage of your royalties like any typical publisher.

What are your hobbies? 
I play Marimba (it’s like a pretty sounding xylophone), I sketch and paint, and I take pictures to put on my walls. I’ve always enjoyed music, but the other hobbies I picked up in order to make my home look nice while still living on a budget. We are poor college students, but I personally like to feel like I have money, even if I don’t. J Having my own paintings (water color/acrylic) and my own photography up makes me feel a lot of things, mainly artsy, brave, and pampered. All good things.

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?
Well, the two books I have for sale currently are “Rain Plays Barefoot” and “A Little Push”. “Rain Plays Barefoot” was inspired by life as the only girl percussionist in my Middle School. It may seem sort of backward, but in some schools there used to be some unspoken rules about which instruments girls were supposed to play and which instruments boys were supposed to play. I wanted to play the drums, and, I was pretty good. This sort of meant that I was changing things for people, like their mindsets, but really…I just wanted to do, what I wanted to do. There were quite a few awkward moments, breaking into a world of boys that had hither to been closed, and so I thought that some of those memories would be entertaining to people. And of course…there’s a crush and all of that. I’ve jumbled things up rather nicely, and I will never admit which of the parts of that escapade are true or untrue ;-).

“A Little Push” is based on an epiphany I had one afternoon while riding a tandem bike with my oldest son. We always try to save money, and it had been a particularly annoying day, and we were riding up hill, and I had a backpack. I had a lot of worries on my mind, and then I realized that William was helping me get up the hill. Without even realizing it he was there pulling his weight. So, even though most of the events in the story are fictional, the epiphany was true to life, and represents a very special life lesson to me. I hope everyone can use it as inspiration in their own lives, no matter what sort of struggle they are going through.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?
I started writing when I was about 13 years old. My first novel ended up being a copy of Star Wars…only with different names. Yes, it was just bad! J But, everyone has to start somewhere, and nearly everyone (especially children) emulates stories they love when they first start to write. One of the reasons I joined the Navy was because I knew, even at eighteen, that I wanted to be a writer, but I also knew that I didn’t have enough life experience to write compelling stories. I want to go out and explore and live life, and then I’d be able to take those experiences and process them for years afterward. This is very true, but now I understand that the best thing to do is write WHILE you’re living your life. So, it is good to go out and experience things to get inspiration, but you don’t need to wait for grand things to happen to you. You can find inspiration everywhere you are. You just have to have the right sort of eyes to see the stories there.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?
Well, it was only a short story. I wrote it in its first form in just a day or so. Then I let it sit on my Storywrite account for a few years. One day, I randomly decided that “this is the day, this is when I WILL get published!” So I searched through my files for something that I thought might tempt a publisher. “Rain Plays Barefoot” was the first one. First, I thought that Rain was a very compelling character. She just sort of jumps out at you from the page. You grow empathy for her almost immediately, and she’s very unique. Also, I liked that within the limited world of Middle School drama, she was doing a very brave thing. She was like a hero in miniature—if you look at Middle School as being a microcosm of the world at large—and that really appealed to me. So, I sent it into Books to Go Now, and in two weeks they sent me the acceptance letter. Actually, I had also sent in “A Little Push” out to a different publisher just two days after I sent RPB and I got both acceptances back on the same day. It was my birthday last year. Like seriously, that day was the luckiest day ever. I’ll never forget it.
I also recently got “Black Friday” accepted by Books to Go Now. It will most likely come out sometime near the Black Friday holiday. It’s something different than what I’ve done before. It’s a little dark actually. It’s a thriller, involves a serial killer, but it also has those little rays of light which I love. It is extremely dark—for me—but it does comment about our society as a whole. I sort of discovered something just as a person by writing it, and I hope that the readers discover something too. I just wanted it to be a little something more than just another gory slasher story. But admittedly, it does delve into murder, why it happens, how that person’s mind works. If you enjoy human psychology, then it certainly would be a good book for you.

Where do you like to write?
I write everywhere. At my house, at the library, in the car, and I’m actually building my own writing room in my garage. I also just love using pen and paper, and I have favorite haunts out by the lake, or on certain hiking trails. I also do people watching at the mall or I’ll even park at random gas stations and write about people as they fill up their cars. Yeah I know, I’m such a stalker! People probably think I’m weird, but I try not to be too obvious when I do it. Like I give myself one or two glances, and then I have to write whatever comes to my mind about them. That’s a brilliant way to find stories, or find characters by the way.

Favorite author(s)?
I read in a lot of different genres. Here we go:

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Anne McCaffery, Andre Norton, Orson Scott Card, Tolkein, JK Rowling, Frank Herbert

Classic Authors: Jane Austin, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, the Bronte Sisters, John Steinbeck

Screen Writers: Felicia Day, Andrew Davies, Tim Burton

Playwrights: Christopher Durang, Marsha Norman, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon (some of his plays are awesome, some are boring).

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?
I have two short stories published, and I have hundreds of short stories written. I have one Novel written, and thousands of story ideas. I am picky with what I will send out to publishers, but I hope to start a system to get more of my stories out to the public.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

Sure. "RAIN PLAYS BAREFOOT"   For Kindle:

What about a link to your website?

One awesome review I’ve received:

Five Stars from Kiki and Jules Reviews: As I have said before, Jennifer Steen is the short story goddess!! She once again pulls you into the life of her main character. You quickly become invested in the small twists and turns in the peek she gives you. This time Steen takes us back to middle school and what it was like to have that first crush. I was so taken back, and loved every minute of it.

Rain is not your typical tween. Not that she is weird, but she's not really on the same page as her fellow classmates. As her best friend, Jacey, and the other girls her age primp and poof themselves in hopes to catch some young man's attention, Rain would rather skip it all and just hang with the boys. She feels very comfortable in her own skin and feels no need to primp for attention. Not that she doesn't care what others think, but feels she has to do what she is most comfortable with. Most of the time that's on the basketball court with James or in band on the drum line with the rest of the guys. But there is a point where all Jacey's talk of boys and her current pubescent emotions get the best of her and she develops her first crush. Rain ends up conflicted and changing her ways to fit the ideals of a boy.

I refuse to tell any more of this delightful short story and encourage you to read. I will say I love, love the ending. It is perfect and sends the message I would want my child to see. Always stay true to yourself. If people don't love you just the way you are, then they aren't the people for you!!”

Jenny, thank you so much for the interview today. It has been a pleasure. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors, my friend. And for you readers, Jenny has shared her recipe for peppermint tea. Enjoy!
My favorite kind of tea is peppermint. I love love this, and you can make it for a healthy Christmas substitute for hot chocolate.

Peppermint Tea

1 tbsp of peppermint leaves per cup of water. (Can get the fresh leaves they sell with rosemary and oregano at the grocery store)
Boil on stove until tasty
Poor in mugs, and add non-dairy creamer and a candy cane (if desired).
Also you can chuck the candy and creamer and it aids an upset stomach.
<--herbal hobbyist

Saturday, June 2, 2012


(Click to buy) $9.89 Paperback/$3.99 Kindle

In the quaint surfing town of Pacific Beach, just north of San Diego, gardening columnist Jillian Bradley is staying at the lovely Pacific Terrace Hotel, attending the Lovejoy Family Reunion. But this happy gathering of eclectic relatives takes a terrifying turn when two other hotel guests, a young starlet and her mother, are found brutally murdered.

When Jillian's nephew, Chase Campbell, is arrested as a prime suspect, Jillian must move quickly to find the real killer and prove Chase's innocence. There is no shortage of suspects, including an unsavory doctor who attended the popular teen star and a mysterious guest at the party where the starlet died. But why was her mother murdered with her?

Working at Jillian's side to find the perpetrator of these bizarre killings are her faithful assistant, Cecilia Montoya, and Teddy, Jillian's Yorkie companion, who sniffs out his own clue. A classic who-dunnit!

Fifth book in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series

Please post and tweet! Thank you, dear readers!!

Friday, June 1, 2012



Fifth in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series
Gardening columnist Jillian Bradley is attending the Lovejoy Family Reunion, held at The Pacific Terrace Hotel in the quaint surfing town north of San Diego. This happy gathering of Jillian's eclectic relatives takes a terrifying turn when two other hotel guests, a young starlet and her mother, are found brutally murdered.


 When Jillian's nephew, Chase Campbell, is arrested as a prime suspect, Jillian must move quickly to find the real killer and prove Chase's innocence. There is no shortage of suspects, including an unsavory doctor who attended the popular teen star and a mysterious guest at the party where the starlet died. But why was her mother murdered with her?

Working at Jillian's side to find the perpetrator of these bizarre killings are her faithful assistant, Cecilia Montoya, and Teddy, Jillian's Yorkie companion, who sniffs out  his own clue.