Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Nancy Jill Thames

Please welcome Nancy Jill Thames to Sleuths and Suspects. She has graciously agreed to give one of her paper back cozy mysteries (a $9.89 value) to one person who leaves a comment. The winner will be chosen by random.org. Without further ado here is our interview with Jill.

Interview Questions/Sleuths and Suspects Blog
1.       Tell us a little about yourself. My dad was in the Air Force so we traveled and moved around a lot. I lived in places like Casablanca, Morocco, Valdosta, Georgia and Las Vegas, Nevada, which gave me a sense of adventure. I’m just an average housewife who loves to entertain, or used to. Now that the kids have flown the nest, I decided to finish a book I’d started writing years ago, “Murder in Half Moon Bay” and do a series – just for kicks. I needed a needed a creative outlet. I have a degree in music and love playing classical piano but one can’t play the piano all day! My faith in God has led me all my life and He’s been so faithful. Traveling with my husband on his business trips gives me the ideas to base my books on.
2.       Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on. “Pacific Beach” is a mystery based on my family reunion that has been going on for 19 years. We’ve met in Pacific Beach for at least 14 of those. My protagonist, Jillian Bradley, is a gardening columnist for the San Francisco Enterprise. Her nephew, Chase Campbell, is accused of murdering a young starlet and her mother. The detective is based on my brother who is a retired sheriff. Teddy, Jillian’s Yorkie companion, uses his instincts to help her solve the homicides as he does in all of her adventures. There will be eight books in the series; “Pacific Beach” is number five.
3.       Why did you choose this particular genre? Actually, truth be told, I got bored with reading the same author over and over. Ten years ago, I wasn’t aware of any other cozy authors except for Agatha Christie. I’d read all 80 of her books, two or three times each and believed I could come up with a sleuth, settings and plots. And I did.
4.       What was your journey to publication like? I tell people if you want to publish a book, go to CreateSpace on Amazon.com and follow the yellow brick road. Because I didn’t know anything about publishing, I simply learned by doing. It started with doing a blog posting a chapter a week for “Murder in Half Moon Bay” until a local paper got wind of it and did an interview about me. After that, I raced to get it finished and published it 7 months later. I laid out a plan to publish a book every 6 months for 4 years until the series was complete.
5.       What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now? Loved “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “The Poisonwood Bible” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy. Just finished C. L. Ragsdale’s Reboot series, which I loved and “The Saucy Lucy Murders.”
6.       What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it? “Waiting for Santa” is a mystery about a Santa Jillian hired for Christmas Eve, who turns up dead at a power station during a power outage. The police find a note with Jillian’s name and address inside his pocket. A double entendre occurs, as Jillian has to decide between two suitors as well. Who will be her “Santa?”
7.       What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication? Get about $4,000 together and use either CreateSpace or another reputable vanity press. Write the book, send it to beta readers for input, rewrite the book, pay a content editor to give you feedback, rewrite the book again, pay a proofreader to edit for typos, and pay someone to do a dynamite cover. When it’s PERFECT, get about five great reviews from other authors and work up a launch promotion. After you’ve done all that, upload your file to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook and Smashwords. CreateSpace puts it for sale on Amazon.com. Then the real work begins. Posting, tweeting, blogging and emailing the fire about your book while appearing to be casually making comments mentioning your masterpiece. You also want a great bio and book blurb to generate interest in what you’ve written.
8.        Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us? I think the best ones are “Dollars & Sense” by McCray, Scott, and Thompson and The Writers Guide 2 E-Publishing Blog are the best two sources I know. The last one’s blogger has sold over 100,000 books so far.
9.       Is there anything you’d like to tell us we haven’t covered? As my husband keeps telling me, just write good books. Books that you would like to read. Easy to say – difficult (but not impossible) to do.
10.   Please let us know where we can find you on the web. My web site is http://www.authornancyjillthames.webs.com. From there you can find my blogs, Amazon author page and basic information.
Thanks for having me over Deborah!
Kindle Book $2.99 on Amazon.com
Here's what you need to do to be eligible for an entry for the paperback copy: 
Go to the following link:  Sleuths and Suspects Reviews

Interview and Giveaway with Nancy Jill Thames

  1) Leave a comment about cozy mysteries. Have you heard of them before? Do you read them, etc.
2) Leave an email address so we can contact you.
3)Sign up as a follower of Sleuths and Suspects.
4) Sign up to get blog posts by email.
Thank you so much for stopping by and we look forward to seeing you again!
Deborah Malone

Thursday, July 26, 2012



1The Nightmare

June 8 San Diego, California

Caroline  was playing innocently in her own front yard when the car struck her down. She was playing with her new puppy, a golden haired mutt she had named Buddy. Her father, a hardworking handy man, had rescued the runt before their neighbor could drop the defenseless dog off in the country to fend for itself. Buddy was gently licking the little girl’s face as she hugged him. She was coaxing him to be still while she put the pink doll dress over his head. She wanted to pretend he was her baby. Just normal play for a five-year-old girl. She finally succeeded and giggled at how funny Buddy looked in the frilly doll dress.
Caroline’s nine-year-old brother was in the driveway of their modest home. The boy stooped over the back tire of his bicycle, attaching playing cards to the spokes with clothespins. He imagined the cards made the sound of a motorcycle like his uncle’s 650.
The children’s mother had been watching her daughter but needed to go back inside the house to check on her cake baking in the oven. Her mind was burdened with how to pay the bills. The afternoon was late and it was almost time for their dad to come home from work. Supper was almost ready, a meager meal of hamburger helper. But there would be cake. No matter how hard they struggled just to survive, they remained a closely-knit family.
And then the unthinkable happened. A late model car came out of nowhere, speeding and swerving wildly. Caroline’s brother watched helplessly as the driver ran up over the curb and into their yard. Buddy scampered away in the pink doll dress, terrified, and Caroline sat frozen on the lawn, staring wide-eyed as the car came toward her. The boy watched in horror as the car struck her small defenseless body, hurtling it further back into the yard. He heard the tires squeal as the car raced off—the driver not even bothering to stop after what he had done.
The boy, almost in shock, had enough presence of mind to notice the license plate. His parents had drilled both of their children in the importance of protective safety measures and now the numbers were burned into his memory forever. He frantically ran to his sister, wondering how he was going to help her.
 The frightened boy bent down and cradled her bloodied body in his arms. Feeling angry and helpless, he vowed that the maniac would be caught.
The mother, hearing the screeching tires so close to her house had come outside, drying her hands on her apron, to see what was going on. She looked in the yard and found her son holding the lifeless body in his arms. She ran toward them, holding her head with her hands screaming, struggling to undo the terrible thing that had just happened.
The boy turned to her and cried, “Call 911!”

That was the beginning of the nightmare: for the mother, for the father, and for the nine-year-old boy.

June 18 Twelve Years Later

The nightmare had culminated in a tragic double-homicide at the Pacific Terrace Hotel where I was staying. Before the ordeal, I remember feeling so happy. The San Francisco Enterprise had just published two great articles for my Ask Jillian gardening column, and I had some time for a breather. I was also looking forward to attending our family reunion. My personal assistant, Cecilia Montoya, was coming with me to help take care of Teddy, my Yorkie companion. The three of us were flying into San Diego International Airport  two days before the tragedy occurred.

Buy on Amazon.com $2.99

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Okay, I know, I know...there is a lot of food descriptions in my books, but hey, I'm constantly eating in wonderful hotels and resorts so this is a major part of my world. (Oh the weight gain price I pay when I get home!) See if you can match the clip with the book. I've included a few characters to give you hints. Good luck!

“Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. All the hard work I do, all the travel, all the difficult clients I have to deal with. I don’t know. Used to think I was doing it for Birdie and Victoria, but after they were successful on their own, it didn’t feel like they really needed me.”
“Did you ever talk to Birdie about how you felt?”
“No. She never had the time, and we hardly talked anymore. You might say we went in different directions. But I honestly loved them. Really loved them! And now, it’s too late.” He buried  his face in his hand.
“I’m so sorry, Lee. I know it hurts. But my sister and brother-in-law will also feel that hurt if their son is convicted of murder. He didn’t kill your wife or Victoria, bet my life on it.” 

  A. Pacific Beach
     B. From the Clutches of Evil

     C. The Mark of Eden

To vote, please leave a comment. The first winner's name will appear in tomorrow's post!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Queen of Afternoon Tea" Celebrity Author Interview


DEBORAH MALONE is my guest today on "Queen of Afternoon Tea" - Deborah is from Georgia and one "peach" of a friend. Thanks for joining us today. 

~Nancy Jill   

Friday, July 20, 2012


I've been having so much fun downloading books on my Kindle, iPhone and iPad recently. So many great books out there online! Just learned that once you download a book you can read it on all three - very convenient.

To celebrate the launch of my new book in the Jillian Bradley Mystery

series "PACIFIC BEACH" I'm offering book 4 as a promotion this weekend. You may download the Kindle version of "The Mark of Eden" free (a $3.99 value)! Hope you enjoy the read. And thanks again for those of you who have given me readerships and reviews! They're very much appreciated.

The promotion runs through Sunday, July 22nd. And please feel free to share this post. Thanks. ~Nancy Jill

The Mark of Eden 
Jillian returns to Half Moon Bay where two elderly men are found dead in their recliners. And now, another man is missing—the distraught father of Jillian's personal assistant. The investigation draws Jillian and Teddy into a strange clinical world, where she almost becomes a victim herself before she identifies who is responsible for a bizarre series of deaths. A classic whodunit!
Here is the link: "THE MARK OF EDEN"  Free book!


Thursday, July 19, 2012


Craft Time

At the Wi Wheel
The good thing about being a grandma is that you only have to think about having a good time with your grandkids. Everything in your normal routine stops and you pass into a children's world.

Swim Time

But instead of parenting (the first kid is the hardest) a grandma knows to lead by example. I sit at their small table on a tiny stool and eat, softly enforcing table manners, praising them when they don't spill crumbs on the floor by eating over their plates. 

We do laundry together, making a game of it. Grandmas teach what tissues are for and offer choices to teach independence. So much fun!
We punctuate the days with fun things to do as you see in these photos. And the best thing about being a grandma? It's almost like being a child again, seeing the world through their eyes. Sigh...I love being a grandma. ~Nancy Jill
Baking Cookies Together

Friday, July 13, 2012




Wednesday, July 11, 2012


One of the loveliest things I can think of is being completely surprised by my husband with a gift that is absolutely perfect! For my birthday this year, he brings home a box and suggests that it's software to help me in my writing. Great...how romantic and feminine - right? Like giving me an iron for Christmas! 

I toss off the gift wrap and can't believe my eyes! An iPad! Wow - it's what I wanted for Christmas. But that sweet wonderful husband of mine didn't want me to have to wait. Blogging and emailing on your iPhone is like being Gulliver in the land of Lilliput typing on the small screen. Well, I'm just blown away and so grateful for having such a thoughtful husband. Makes me almost sorry I made him the dog in my Jillian Bradley Mystery series. He is cute, though. What a nice birthday I'm having. Until next time - Blessings my friends.
~Nancy Jill

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


How lovely to enjoy a few days of solitude. Time to break free of demands on body and soul - waking when fully rested, working when inspiration hits, eating only when truly hungry...solitude for me refreshes my being. You may ask, "Isn't that what spas are all about? Hot tubs? Vacations?" Yes, those are lovely, too. But they don't take the place of having some moments of solitude where a person has to come to grips with who they are and what their purpose is. As much as I find moments of solitude to be a lovely gift though, I wouldn't want too much of a good thing. For instance, my protagonist Jillian Bradley is a widow and childless - her solitude is difficult at times. But peace, tranquility, listening to that still small voice coming from your heart...does a body good. Have a lovely day, my friends.
~Nancy Jill

Thursday, July 5, 2012


You've probably read about my mom on my blog a few times, but if you haven't, just know that she's 87 going on 88 in September. When you get to be that old sometimes you think you should just sit down and fade away. After all, how can a person keep up with all the new technology? 

I challenged her, no, strongly encouraged her to get an iPhone and an iPad so she would have a life. Don't get me wrong - she attends Sunday School and church, plays bridge once a week, volunteers at the homeless shelter once a month etc., but it's still not enough when she has so much time on her hands now that she's living alone. Quite honestly, I never thought she'd take the plunge. But she did! 

You should see how happy she is being able to talk to her kiddos on Face Time, see photos on Facebook on such a nifty size screen and being able to do everything she used to do on her computer, where ever she chooses. And wait until she can read my books on a lighted screen in bed. She's going to love it! Transformation from a boring existence to joining the world online. Amazing. Can't wait for Christmas when I get one. Have an incredible day, my friends. 

~Nancy Jill

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


When I was in high school, our choir went to the all state music festival one spring and sang a song that has always lived in my heart. Lyrics are by Don Raye and the music is by Al Jacobs. The words go like this:





Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Do join me for a cold glass of sweet tea and some refreshments. It's so hot in many parts of the country today - my heart goes out to those with no electricity. I thought it would be nice to pause and share a break together. I hope you enjoy some of our famous Texas sweet tea. Cheers!

~Nancy Jill Thames
"Queen of Afternoon Tea"

Sunday, July 1, 2012