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Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

[ Edited ]

Thursday's guest blog is brought to us by author DEBORAH SHARP!

 

Deborah Sharp...

Author of the Mace Bauer mystery series...

 

Her website is here: http://www.deborahsharp.com/

 

She's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/deborah.sharp1?sk=wall

 



 

Deborah's Bio - The Short Version

 

HERE'S the short version, for reporters and other individuals with short attention spans: 

Deborah Sharp was a reporter for USA Today for nearly two decades. Given all the stories she wrote about killer sharks, rampaging alligators, and human evil-doers, it's a wonder she leaves her house.

She traded the sad stories of the news business for the funny ''Mace Bauer Mystery'' series, set in a sweet-tea-and-barbecue slice of her native Florida. The series debuted with ''Mama Does Time'' (Midnight Ink, 2008). Mama's out of the slammer and into the saddle in ''Mama Rides Shotgun''(July 2009.) In 2010's ''Mama Gets Hitched,'' Mama ties the sacred knot of matrimony . . . for the fifth time. And in the upcoming, ''Mama Sees Stars'' (Sept. 2011), a murder might just spoil Mama's big scene.

Deborah's Florida mysteries are funny, with a soft Southern edge: Think Carl Hiaasen on estrogen.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband of more than 20 years, television reporter Kerry Sanders. No kids. No pets. They had goldfish once. Turned out badly.

Her short fiction and essays have appeared nationally,and her humorous commentaries have run on NPR. She's been on the Today Show -- more than once! She's grateful for the chance to have chatted with Al Roker and other TV stars about her wacky Mama character, and the transition she made from journalism to novels.
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

[ Edited ]

 

Deborah Sharp Bio

 



 

HERE'S the longer, first-person version, for people with way too much time on their hands: 

Like the main character in my "Mace Bauer Mysteries," my family roots were set in Florida long before Walt Disney and "Miami Vice" came to define the state. As a Florida native, and a former, longtime reporter for USA Today, I know every burg and back road. I've visited spots not found on maps: Molasses Junction. Muse. And now, Himmarshee, my own tiny slice of "Authentic Florida."

Home to cowboys and church suppers, Himmarshee is hot, and swarming with mosquitoes. And that's about all it has in common with Carl Hiaasen's Florida. This isn't the state everyone thinks they know. To create it, I borrowed a little from the present-day ranching town of Okeechobee, and a bit from long-ago southern Florida, where I'm from.

Not far from Ft. Lauderdale, in Davie, my daddy walked to town, leading the family's cow. A generation later, when I was a girl, my Quarter horse and I galloped over the same terrain. Dotted then with citrus groves and ranches, it's all interstates and strip malls now.

The difference between Mace and Mama's hometown and mine: Himmarshee may be threatened by over-development, but I'll never let it be ruined.

Born in Fort Lauderdale, I'm a middle sister - just like Mace. I went to elementary school at Southside, high school at Stranahan, undergrad at Florida Atlantic University (This was PF: Pre-Football, when the big campus sports were tennis and water polo). What a culture shock when I headed "up north" to attend the University of Georgia, home of rabid "Dawgs" fans and alumni, who return for football games in huge RVs with horns that toot out "Dixie."

I earned a master's degree in psychology, and then switched to journalism, much to the dismay of my Ph.D. committee. Like most things in my life, it wasn't planned. The J-school was right next to the Psych building. One night, our vending machine ran out of my favorite lemon-cream cookies. I wandered across the courtyard in search of junk food, and found a new career.

 

deborah_sharp_cracker_trail_parade.jpg...

It was a good one, too, for more than 20 years. I started in 1982 at the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., where I would have paid them to let me write all those articles about manatees and panthers, cops and courts. My favorite assignment: Writing about playing a zombie for director George Romero when ''Day of the Dead" shot on Sanibel Island.

My fellow extras praised my excellent lurching.

A News-Press bonus: I met my future husband, TV reporter Kerry Sanders, covering damage to the winter vegetable crop in Immokalee, Fla. We both shivered in a pre-dawn freeze, waiting to see if the green peppers would turn into popsicles. 

Kerry and I have been married since 1989. No kids, no pets. We had goldfish once. Turned out badly.

After the News-Press, I moved to Tampa, Fla., in 1986. Gannett News Service gave me the chance to roam the state, writing features: The Strawberry King of Plant City. The Swizzle Stick Sultan of St. Pete. And, to prove it wasn't all a giggle, the haunted life of the sole survivor of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapse.

 

deborah_sharp_cracker_trail_parade2.jpg...

Then, in 1991, it was back to my hometown of Fort Lauderdale. Kerry landed a job with NBC in neighboring Miami. The occasional stories I'd been writing for Gannett-owned USA Today became a flood. Miami may be crazy, but what a news town! Riots. Murdered tourists. Hurricanes. Elian. I kept busy, traveling over Florida and the south, racking up bylines.

And then, 9/11. So much death and destruction. So much changed. Anthrax. Terrorism. Wars. I felt sad all the time, interviewing people who had lost so much. One of my last assignments for the paper was to profile soldiers killed in battle. Grieving parents; spouses; kids. My 50th birthday rolled around, and I decided I couldn't do it anymore. Life's too short, as they say, and I'd seen over and over the truth of that.

So, mystery-writing beckoned: A world where I could punish the bad and reward the good; where I get to say how the stories turn out. And not thrillers or dark suspense or serial killers stalking women. I chose to write light, funny mysteries--which basically means very little blood and nobody gets autopsied. And, I throw in some romance, too.

MAMA DOES TIME, MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN, MAMA GETS HITCHED, and MAMA SEES STARS are traditional mysteries with a comic, Southern edge. Agatha Christie, if she had a couple of cousins named Bubba. Mama, married five times, wears sherbet-colored pantsuits and performs beauty parlor aromatherapy at Hair Today Dyed Tomorrow.

Now, I don't care who you are, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, that's funny!

 

And don't we all need a laugh now and then?

 

...

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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

Mama Does Time (Mace Bauer Mystery Series #1) 

Mama Sees Stars 

Mama Rides Shotgun (Mace Bauer Mystery Series #2) 

Mama Gets Hitched (Mace Bauer Mystery Series #3)     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above links are all for Deborah's NookBooks.

 

*IMPORTANT MESSAGE*

 

The first title in the series, MAMA DOES TIME, is currently being offered as a FREE download for the Nook. (Did I mention, FREE ;-) ? )

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

[ Edited ]

 

Deborah Sharp

 

Links to articles by or about Deborah:

 

http://www.wusf.usf.edu/news/2010/03/26/the_state_were_in_deborah_sharp_on_finding_old_florida

 

Midnight Ink is a fresh new voice in mystery fiction committed to publishing suspenseful tales of all types: hard-boiled thrillers, cozies, historical mysteries, and amateur sleuth novels.  It’s always midnight somewhere.

 

http://www.midnightinkbooks.com/author.php?author_id=3953

 

Home

 

http://www.mysterywriters.org/user/1339

 

 

http://nsunews.nova.edu/floridas-funniest-mystery-writer-deborah-sharp-visits-nsu-library-talk-mama-...



Deborah's blog is here: http://mysterygal-mysterygal.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

TV APPEARANCES


◊ NBC's Today Show from November 4, 2008

◊ "Mayor's Book Talk" from January 14, 2009

◊ NBC6 "South Florida Today." from July 17, 2009

◊ NBC's Today Show from August 4, 2009

◊ WJXT-TV from November 17, 2009

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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

Mama Sees Stars (Mace Bauer Mystery Series #4)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My stars and garters—Hollywood has descended on little ol' Himmarshee, Florida. As animal wrangler for a cowboy film, Mace is on the set when she discovers the arrogant executive producer shot dead, his body on display in the horse corral. With everyone from spoiled starlets to conniving crew members cursing the man's name, who in blue blazes didn't want to kill Norman Sydney? As Mama's head swells to diva proportions, thanks to her miniscule movie role, Mace shines an unwelcome spotlight on the big-city film folk to reveal a killer.

Praise:

"This zany fourth entry in Sharp's series is a feature worthy of the big screen." —LIBRARY JOURNAL

"Sibling rivalry, steamy romance, a surprising killer, and plenty of catfish and hush puppies make this Southern cozy a winner." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"A terrific combination of sleuthing and silliness." —ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

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[ Edited ]


 

MAMA SEES STARS

By Deborah Sharp

 



 

Excerpt: Chapter One

 

            I waited out of camera range, holding the bridle on a saddled horse. Movie lights flooded the scene with brightness. The set was pin-drop quiet.

            “Action!’’

            I let go of the bridle, slapped the horse on the rump, and stood back so the camera operator could capture the animal racing past. Just as the rider less horse entered a clearing, gathering speed to a gallop, a voice rang out into the silence.

            “My stars and garters! Somebody’s let a horse get loose. Don’t just stand there, Mace! Come help me catch him.’’

            An orange blur dashed into the animal’s path, waving arms and yelling.

            “Cut!’’ The assistant director put his fingers to his temples and massaged. I could tell him it’s not so easy to rub away this kind of headache.

            A short bald man in a bright red shirt kicked over a chair on the sidelines.  “Security!’’ The word exploded from his mouth. “Would somebody grab the stupid hillbilly?’’

            A muscled guy in a baseball cap started toward The Hillbilly, a.k.a. my mama. Cringing, I stepped forward. “She’s with me.’’

            The short man came closer and leveled a glare. “And who the hell are you?’’

            “Mace Bauer.’’ I offered my hand. He looked at it like it was bathed, palm to pinky, in manure. “I’m the animal wrangler.’’

            “And I am not impressed.’’ His leathery face scrunched like he smelled a load of hogs.

            As I slipped my unshaken hand into the pocket of my jeans, Mama marched to my side. She smoothed her orange-sherbet pantsuit, fluffed her platinum hair, and straightened to her full four foot, eleven inches. The jerk in the red shirt may have had her by a few inches, but she had the Mama Glare, and it was set at stun.

            “Well, who the blue blazes are you? All we know is you’re a rude little man who has no idea how to talk to a lady. By the way,Florida’s as flat as a frying pan, so I can’t be a hillbilly, can I?’’

            Whispers and a few snickers traveled around the set. His beady eyes met her glare.            “I’m the boss here. The top dog. Let me put it in terms you’ll understand. If this movie set was a barbecue joint, I’d own the building. I’d own the chairs and tables. I’d even own the pigs. And I’d get to say who gets to sit down for dinner, and who doesn’t.’’

            Mama, brows knit, glanced at me. “Is he saying I can’t come to his rib joint?’’

            I shrugged.

            “Well, I wouldn’t want to go there anyway,’’ she said. “I can tell you it’ll never be as popular as the Pork Pit, which has been in Himmarshee forever. Not only do they have ribs to die for, they make the best peach cobbler, too. Besides, the folks at the Pork Pit know how to treat their customers. You certainly have a lot to learn about how to treat people . . .’’

            As Mama went on, I tried to imagine I was somewhere else. The assistant director massaged his head so hard, I thought he’d rub the hair right off his temples. Meanwhile, the old guy’s face was getting purple. Jabbing his cigar, he looked mad enough to pick Mama up and toss her off the set himself.

            Just then, a woman stepped up to him with a cell phone in one hand and a sandwich in the other. She whispered in his ear. He handed her his cigar, took the cell phone, and jammed half the sandwich in his mouth. Then he began shouting into the cell.

            “What kind of idiot do you think I am? I’ll have your ass in the courtroom faster than you can say breach of contract . . .’’

            He stomped away, Mama’s transgression seemingly forgotten. As he left, little missiles of what looked like roast beef launched from his mouth. I pitied the person on the other end of the call. Even though the woman was almost a head taller than him, she had to run to keep up.

            The assistant director scolded Mama through tightly pursed lips: “You ruined the shot. This is your first – and last – warning.’’

            “It’s her first time on a movie,’’ I apologized, as he stalked back to the director’s tent.

            Next to us, the behemoth in the ball cap still loomed. “Don’t worry,’’ I told him. “I’ll make sure she understands the concept of Quiet on the Set.’’

            The three of us watched the departing loudmouth in red. “Who is he, anyway?’’ I asked the security man.

            “You mean besides being a First Class **bleep**?’’

            “Language, son,’’ Mama said, but she was smiling.

            “Norman Sydney. He’s the movie’s executive producer, but he thinks he’s God.’’

* * *

            “How was I supposed to know you let the horse go on purpose?’’ 

            “We’re shooting a movie here, Mama. The scene is supposed to look like something bad happened to one of the kids in the family. The horse is spooked, so it races off alone.’’

            Mama’s bottom lip was set in a pout. The horse, in contrast, plodded along with no whining at the end of a lead rope. He seemed happy to be heading back to the movie’s corral.

            The Hollywood folks were in Himmarshee doing a film about the early days of cattle-ranching in Florida. It was supposed to be based on Patrick Smith’s classic book, A Land Remembered. But I’d peeked at a script, and cows were about the only thing it had in common with the book. Supposedly, the new working title was Fierce Fury Past. Hired to handle the horses, I was using up vacation time from my real job at a nature park. It was a good chance to make some extra cash. Since the film was the most exciting thing going on in our little slice of middleFlorida, Mama nagged me until I got her on the set, too.

            After her embarrassing interruption, we’d done five or six more takes of the galloping horse. Bored, she’d wandered off to find somewhere she wouldn’t get yelled at for talking.

            Now, we’d met up again, and were about to have lunch. But first I had to return the horse. Still smarting over the producer’s dressing down, Mama was uncharacteristically quiet.

            Saddle leather creaked as we walked through a pasture. The horse’s hooves thudded on a sandy path cut through a blanket of Bahia grass. A mockingbird sang from an oak branch.

            Curiosity finally triumphed over Mama’s bad mood: “Have you seen any of theHollywood stars yet? I’ve got my autograph book all ready. Is that Greg Tilton as good-looking in person as on the screen?’’

            “It’s just my first day. I’m sure I will see some stars, unless one of my family members manages to get me fired from the movie.’’

            She narrowed her eyes. “Why would any of us want to do that?’’

            “Just don’t bug anybody. And try to stay out of trouble, would you, Mama?’’

            “Me? I thought you were in trouble. I thought you needed my help with that horse. What kind of mother would I be if I saw you in a jam and didn’t step in? Besides, it was that awful man’s fault for jumping all over me. He’s wound up tighter than granny’s girdle.’’

            A loud whinny sounded from the horse corral. A whicker came from behind us in return.

            “Rebel, what’s wrong?’’ I made a half-turn to run a reassuring hand below the horse’s mane.

            Turning back, I plowed smack into Mama, who’d stopped in her tracks. Rebel’s big head hit me between my shoulders. Mama gave a sharp gasp. 

            “Oh, my! It’s that horrible producer, Mace. I can see his bright red shirt. Your eyes are younger than mine. Isn’t that him, leaning against the corral gate?’’

            I stepped around her to get a better view.

            “I hope he hasn’t come to fire you,’’ she said.

            “It’s him, Mama. But he’s not leaning against the corral.’’

            I took my cell phone from my pocket and hit speed dial for Carlos Martinez, a detective with the Himmarshee police department and my boyfriend. 

            Somebody had tossed Norman Sydney over the fence like drying laundry. The white, sandy ground beneath his body was stained, as red as his tomato-colored shirt.

 

# # #

 

From: Mama Sees Stars: A Mace Bauer Mystery (Book 4) © 2011 by Deborah Sharp. Used by permission. Midnight Ink Books www.midnightinkbooks.com

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

I'm borrowing these close-ups of Deborah's great covers from her Facebook page:

 



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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

 

Guest Blog by

Deborah Sharp

 



 

I want to give a big thank you to the busy Becke Davis for inviting me to guest here today. She has to be among the hardest-working moderators inMysteryLand!

 

I’m a former reporter who grew weary of writing sad stories. At age 50, I decided to quit the news biz to try my hand at writing funny fiction. The thing I miss least about journalism? Being sent to knock on the door of somebody having the worst day of their life. One of my last assignments for USA Today was also one of the saddest: I wrote the paper’s profiles of soldiers killed in Afghanistanand Iraq. I was honored to memorialize the sacrifices they made, but witnessing the grief and pain of the families I interviewed took a toll. 

 

There was one thing I loved about my former job, though. I routinely got the chance to run around asking lots of questions. I’ve always been curious -- OK, nosy. Becoming a journalist was a great way to indulge that tendency in a (somewhat) socially acceptable fashion. Hey, I’m not a snoop.  It’s my job!

 

No doubt a few people over the years were ticked off by something I asked. In this new author’s life, I keep waiting for karmic payback; for someone to lob ME the hardball question that’s either impossible to answer, or that nobody in their right mind would WANT to answer. It turns out mystery readers are a pretty respectful lot. So far, I’ve only encountered a couple of queries that left me with mouth gaping.

 

Guy with hand raised at a signing:  “Your books are well-written, so you obviously have some skill. Why don’t you write something important?’’

 

Me: “Yikes! Next question?’’

 

What I should have said: “Been there, done that. Besides, what’s so shabby about making people laugh?’’

 

As a shout-out to my former career, I’m going to do a quick self-interview here. The questions are softballs (I’m no dummy!) I’ll leave it to you to toss me a zinger. I promise to answer if you do. Karma, y’all!

 

 

QUESTION: Where did the idea for the Mama character come from?

 

I’d always loved reading fiction, especially mysteries, but never tried writing any. Once I left the newspaper, pulling a plot out of thin air was harder than I imagined. A common bit of advice for novice fiction writers is to use a “prompt’’ – a picture, a headline, a snippet of dialogue – to spark the creative process.

 

I was looking for a prompt when a full page ad in the Miami Herald caught my eye:  An older woman was driving a turquoise convertible, her mouth open in a full laugh. The Mama character instantly popped into my head. What would happen, I asked myself, if a body turned up in the trunk of that woman’s shiny blue car? That became a short story, which morphed into the first book (“Mama Does Time”), and then led to the Mace Bauer Mystery series.

 



 

QUESTION: How many Mace Bauer Mysteries do you have planned, and who’s Mace anyway?

 

Mace is Mama’s sensible middle girl, the only one of her three grown daughters who’s still single.  She’s the main character, though Mama might beg to differ.

 

The newest release, MAMA SEES STARS, is my fourth book. I’m contracted to write No. 5, “Mama Gets Trashed,’’ which will be out in 2013. I have lots of ideas for more. In fact, think of a title, and I could probably write a book: Mama Hunkers Down (a hurricane threatens, events in the storm shelter go murderously awry); Mama Hits the Jackpot (Mama and Mace sail off on a gambling cruise, someone comes up snake-eyes); Mama Goes Wild (Mama joins Mace at a nature preserve, where the wildlife is the least-dangerous threat) . . . Stop me when you've heard enough.

 

I do have a recurring nightmare, though. Suppose the series goes on so long that I get crazy fans like Kathy Bates in ''Misery?''  I can almost hear the shouting as my kneecaps shatter: "You KILLED off the Mama character! I'll kill you!''

 

QUESTION: Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently?

 

Aside from wishing I’d begun this new career at age 40, instead of 50, I’d probably re-think a book signing I did once at a Labor Day rodeo in Okeechobee, Fla.It was one of the hottest days of the year. I sat atop a bale of hay, my table of books right next to the cattle chute. Imagine 100-degree temperatures, the biological by-products of a couple dozen head of cattle, and scratchy stalks of hay embedding themselves into my butt. Worse still were the Hershey’s kisses I’d brought as reader giveaways. Melted chocolate oozed everywhere. One look at those little brown dollops put people more in mind of manure than of mysteries. Most hurried right past.  

 

Maybe that day was my karma talking.

 

 # # #

 

 

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

Oh my gosh ... I am OVERWHELMED by the amount of work Becke did in pulling this guest blog together! All I did was write a few paragraphs for the post at the end; I feel like the world's worst slacker. I called her the hardest working moderator in Mystery Land, and now I see how true  that is.  Thanks so much for giving me a chance to guest blog, and for this great overview you've created. PS: Where are my baby pictures, Becke? ;-)  Kidding, kidding! 

Deborah Sharp
Author of the funny Mace Bauer Mystery series
Inspired Wordsmith
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

Welcome Deborah!

 

Don't tempt Becke to post your baby pictures - if there is a way to find them, she will!

 

I downloaded your first book, MAMA DOES TIME, in order to get started with your series. After reading the first, I'll move onto MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN, MAMA GETS HITCHED and finally MAMA SEE STARS. Love the titles of your books and the covers are gorgeous!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us! We have a lot of fun visiting with authors and reading their books! I enjoyed reading your blog and now I feel like a know you - it makes for a better read when you know a little history about the author!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

I hope I'm doing this right, in replying to Eadie. I'm so happy to hear you liked what you've read so far, and I so agree about those covers. Midnight Ink has done a fabulous job with them, each one better than the last. I have no idea what they'll come up with as cover illustration for No 5, though ... it's still a year or more away, but working title is MAMA GETS TRASHED!

Deborah Sharp
Author of the funny Mace Bauer Mystery series
Distinguished Wordsmith
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!

" Agatha Christie, if she had a couple of cousins named Bubba."

Now, THAT'S funny! Thanks for joining us here, Deborah. I am adding your books to my TBR pile and looking forward to reading about Mama and her adventures!

PS. eadie is right-- you don't want to joke about becke getting ahold of your baby pictures! Hee hee!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!


DeborahSharp wrote:

Oh my gosh ... I am OVERWHELMED by the amount of work Becke did in pulling this guest blog together! All I did was write a few paragraphs for the post at the end; I feel like the world's worst slacker. I called her the hardest working moderator in Mystery Land, and now I see how true  that is.  Thanks so much for giving me a chance to guest blog, and for this great overview you've created. PS: Where are my baby pictures, Becke? ;-)  Kidding, kidding! 


Dang - I slipped up with those baby pictures. There were 85,600 hits when I Googled your name - I bet there's some out in Googleland, somewhere! (But I'm not a stalker - not exactly - so I'll spare you that!)

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eadieburke wrote:

Welcome Deborah!

 

Don't tempt Becke to post your baby pictures - if there is a way to find them, she will!

 

I downloaded your first book, MAMA DOES TIME, in order to get started with your series. After reading the first, I'll move onto MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN, MAMA GETS HITCHED and finally MAMA SEE STARS. Love the titles of your books and the covers are gorgeous!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us! We have a lot of fun visiting with authors and reading their books! I enjoyed reading your blog and now I feel like a know you - it makes for a better read when you know a little history about the author!


Isn't it great that you can download the first book here for FREE?

 

For those of you who don't have e-readers, no worries! You can download Nook for PC - also for FREE - and read the book on your computer!

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Guest Blog by Author DEBORAH SHARP!


DeborahSharp wrote:

I hope I'm doing this right, in replying to Eadie. I'm so happy to hear you liked what you've read so far, and I so agree about those covers. Midnight Ink has done a fabulous job with them, each one better than the last. I have no idea what they'll come up with as cover illustration for No 5, though ... it's still a year or more away, but working title is MAMA GETS TRASHED!


Deborah - We LOVE it when authors come and hang out with us. With the guest blogs, it's optional - some authors prefer to just write the blog - but it's always fun when authors visit. Eadie and I thank you!

 

Also, as you've probably noticed, there aren't always a lot of commenters here. There are a lot of people viewing without commenting, though. (It can be a pain to sign in, which is required in order to comment.) The nice thing is, this blog/thread will be accessible whenever your name is searched at the B&N boards and blogs, so your virtual visit will go on and on!