Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tea Party Tuesday - Jillian's Garden Tips

How was your week? Last weekend we held our daughter's engagement party, and this weekend we celebrate our son's birthday and Easter. With so many exciting activities happening, I think I need a cup of tea. Won't you join me?

I thought we'd have our time together by the fire. It's been chilly for the past few days here in Texas. Spring seems to be so indecisive this year! What about in your area? 

Let me pour your tea. Today I'm serving English Breakfast, a favorite of mine.
Milk? Sugars? Please take whatever treats you like. I'm going to start with a curried chicken sandwich.

How many of you are on Pinterest - the site where boards are created to hold things of interest? It reminds me of scrapbooking only with links.

I think I'll try a lemon tart.

This week I created a board for Jillian's Garden Tips. 


In my books, she sometimes shares from the Ask Jillian gardening column so I thought others might benefit from her knowledge. Plus it's such fun to find tips and pin them!  

May I refill your cup? 

Here's an excerpt  from my second book "The Ghost Orchid Murder."


It was time to get dressed, but I felt so lazy I decided to check my e-mails first. Everything was going well at the paper. Some ads for gardening paraphernalia I always received…click, delete; a comment from a reader saying they loved the last column on summer bulbs...enlightening; more solicitations for gardening tools…delete, and then I was finished. No personal messages, no family member in crisis, no one needing me in any way.
Maybe that was a good thing, but I couldn’t fool myself. Being needed was what life was all about. Did Vincent need me? That remained to be seen. I shut down my computer and got dressed just in time for room service.

Thanks for joining me today. I enjoyed our tea together. 
Hope to see you next week for Tea Party Tuesday.
In the meanwhile, Go Jillian and Teddy!

~Nancy Jill

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blog Hop!

Blog Hopping??? What’s that??? That was my first response to those words.
Well, according to others, Blog hopping is when one blogger posts questions, tags another blogger, and asks them to answer those questions. The second blogger links back to the first one and also forwards to another blogger they have tagged. This is a way to increase our exposure. It’s also fun, and you meet new bloggers/writers.

The sister of a dear friend who was my first editor tagged me - Terri Rodgers Bright. I recently chatted with Terri and discovered she loves dolls and is in the process of writing her first book. Below are MY answers to Terri’s questions.

What am I working on? Book 8 in the Jillian Bradley mystery series – “The Long Trip Home.” The story set in London continues from “The Ruby of Siam” and deals with the tragic event following Jillian’s wedding.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? Most cozies have themes such as cats or culinary. My work features a gardening columnist by the name of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie sidekick, Teddy. The dynamic duo set about solving homicides with the help of Jillian’s garden club friends. The books infuse resort settings, lovely afternoon tea, and delectable restaurant menus.

 Why do I write what I do? I always wanted to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren but the only talent I had was music. By incorporating fond family memories and my travel experiences with my husband into stories, I could leave a hard copy of my life.

How does my writing process work? Ideas spring from my husband and I having a simple conversation and off we go creating a storyline. I set a goal to write two books a year, map out a timeline for each and begin. Plot comes first, characters second, and details of the story last. Once I have the elements in hand, I begin to weave the tale.

Here is my list of “forward to” authors: Their name contains the link to their blog.

Sherry Chamblee: She writes Romantic comedies and Christian Romances.

C.L. Ragsdale: She writes cozy Christian mysteries and super-hero books.

Please click the link to Terri’s blog, as well as the link(s) forward to the next author(s). Again, to access any of these links, you simply click on the author’s name. Thanks for reading my blog, and for also viewing the blogs of these other writers.

~Nancy Jill

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tea Party Tuesday

How many of you have a life that seems to be whizzing past? I believe we could all use a nice cup of tea and some yummy cookies. So welcome to Tea Party Tuesday!

Photo Courtesy Dianne Sherrill

As I rush about trying to keep up with household chores, preparing dinner, and keeping up with an extended family of sixteen, I wonder how others cope. 

I hear stories of people raising grandchildren, dealing with serious illnesses and surgeries, and finding ways to make ends meet when a breadwinner loses their job.

The only comfort I can take is placing my trust in God our heavenly father.  

As I study the Bible and worship with other believers each Sunday, I've learned to take one day at a time, do the best I can, and rest from my labors at least one day a week. 

Sometimes I like to stretch it to two days a week. When I do, the following week goes by much more productively. And that's one of the reasons I enjoy spending time with you during Tea Party Tuesday. 

Afternoon tea doesn't have to be complicated. A cup of tea and a few cookies can do quite nicely. You might want to try the chocolate covered shortbread if you haven't all ready. I've even found these at WalMart.  

 My mother-in-law used to buy WalMart's lemon filled and raspberry filled cookies that were to die for! You can also get your store's own brand.

CVS'S Version
Safeway's Brand

Afternoon tea, so much a part of the British culture, is also a wonderful time to take a break and rest from the day's activities. When we connect, the comments I receive act like a tonic of pure energy . 

This week I'm determined to finish the rewrite of "The Long Trip Home" Book 8 in the Jillian and Teddy books, because Sunday, we celebrate our youngest daughter's engagement. What a happy time we look forward to!

I hope you have a pleasant week and join me again next Tuesday for a lovely break together.

If you have another favorite store bought cookie, I'd love it if you'd share!

~Nancy Jill

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tea Party Tuesday

Special on the menu today - Starbucks Vanilla Bean Scones.

One of my favorite things to do with my granddaughters is having afternoon tea. We drink tea at their house (they live in California, I live in Texas), throw tea parties for the neighborhood kids, and visit tea rooms in the Bay Area.
I highly recommend the Camellia Tea Room in Benecia, California where my granddaughter and I visited. On a nice day they serve tea outside in front of the shop. We especially enjoy the variety of tea choices and find it hard to resist buying some to take home. Be sure and call for reservations if you plan to go.

Have you noticed a resurgence in the interest in afternoon tea? (Besides the political tea party, I mean.) I have. Business people are choosing afternoon tea meetings instead of the proverbial lunch and many cozy mysteries are based on tea. Laura Childs, for one, writes the Tea Shop Mysteries.

Click if you want to check it out.
Pinterest, a popular social network, is full of tea images that I find hard to resist. It seems I'm always looking for more images and sites to add to my Afternoon Tea board. I'd love to have you follow my pins. 

While you're there, you might want to check out the other boards I created. There is one for my Jillian and Teddy Books and if you scroll down you'll find a board for each individual book. 

Every story I write has afternoon tea included. I hope you take advantage of reading  Book 1 "Murder in Half Moon Bay" as a free gift.
My Free Gift to You
This is my way of introducing readers to The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series where I get to write about the lovely places I've been and the afternoon teas I've enjoyed, along with a good whodunnit, of course!

Thank you for joining me today. It was such a pleasure!

~Nancy Jill

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tea Party Tuesday

Welcome to Tea Party Tuesday, dear readers. Let me pour you a nice cup of hot tea.

Milk? Sugars? 

Today I'm serving Lemon Lift. I find it refreshing and appropriate for Spring!

The photo above is from Hotel Granduca in Houston. The article I found on their site was about the History of Afternoon Tea and Tea Etiquette 101. I was familiar with the facts but differed on one point. 

When I visited England, I was told milk was added first, then the tea and sugar. The tradition was based on trying to prevent the cup from cracking. The milk acted as a buffer for the hot tea.

What are your thoughts?

Please have a sandwich. I don't care for smoked salmon but the cucumber one looks good. What are your favorites?

Last week I took a rest from writing the first draft of "The Long Trip Home" but will now start the rewrite, adding more description and detail.
This past weekend, my husband and I made a visit to San Antonio to see our daughter and plan the next Jillian Bradley Mystery. Holly helped choose names for the characters, which was a great help.

Let's try the scones. I love to spread them with lemon curd and clotted cream, but strawberry jam or orange marmalade are lovely, too.
May I refill your cup?
The pastries look delicious!

I hope you had a good week. Thanks for joining me today - it was a pleasure to have you.

See you next week!

~Nancy Jill

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tea Party Tuesday

Welcome to afternoon Tea Party Tuesday, dear readers. Please let me pour you a nice hot cup of tea (or coffee if you prefer).

The photo is from Travel PR's site celebrating 10,000 Twitter followers. I love the yellow china, don't you?

Jasmine tea is one of my favorites, but I also love Lemon Lift, Lady Grey, and English Breakfast. My all time favorite, however, is a combo of Darjeeling and Earl Grey. It reminds me of the tea served in England when my husband and I visited as part of a trip celebrating our 15th anniversary.

What kind of tea do you like to drink?

Yes, please have another sandwich.

If wore a hat today it would be something like this from Mary Ann Koch Courture Creations. Is it still a tradition a lady doesn't wear Spring hats or white until Easter Sunday?

I think it's time for a scone.

Please help yourself.

Are you brave enough like me to wear hats? Where do you wear them? I always wear a sunhat, even if I'm only going to WalMart. 

And men, if you're like my husband, you may wear a hat so you won't have to comb your hair!

Let me refill your tea.

To me, the ritual of afternoon tea is a lovely way to share a visit with friends. I'm so glad you that you joined me today. If you'd like more afternoon tea experiences, you may enjoy The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series. The first book is my gift to you as an ebook.

Please let me know if you liked Tea Party Tuesday. I'd like to make it a weekly event. Thank you.


~Nancy Jill

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How I Went From Housewife to Author

I stepped into the author boat in 2010 and have been rowing hard ever since. This video was made to share at the upcoming Art and Author Fair at the Georgetown Library.  If you'll be in the Austin, Texas area on that day, please mark your calendars to attend. I'd love to meet you! 
I'd really appreciate you sharing this post on Google + and all your social networks. The share buttons are at the end. Thank you! 
Have an awesome week, my friends!

~Nancy Jill

May 10, 2014, 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Georgetown Public Library, 
402 W. 8th St. Georgetown, Texas 78626

Treat yourself to an afternoon of art, acting, music, wine, and great books. Meet local artists and authors who make the world come alive as we “look in the book”.

Central Texas Authors
Dramatic Readings by Sun City AcTAG
Exclusive literary-based Art & Photography by Texas artists
Music by The Sun City Mountain Dulcimers, 
Two-Day Suitcase, & Ron Braley Renaissance Lute 
Keynote Speaker Rhiannon Frater
Refreshments & Spirits
Free for all

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Story Behind Teddy

As some of you may have already guessed, many authors use their imagination to come up with characters for their stories like I did with Jillian's companion, Teddy. Here's how it happened.

Since living in the Bay Area of California has always been one of the most expensive places to buy a house, we rented for the first twelve years of our daughter's life. Like most children, Holly wanted a dog in the worst way and begged us to get her one. We promised when we bought a house we'd buy her a puppy.

The very week we moved into our new home, Holly began her search online for the perfect puppy, and soon found one - a female Maltese in Florida. After two flights, Chloe arrived in Oakland where we picked her up in Cargo at the airport. She pranced out of her crate and into our hearts.

But there was a problem - Chloe's food did not arrive with her. She wouldn't eat any dog food we bought, began to lose weigh and grew lethargic. The vet suggested Pedialite to keep our precious puppy hydrated and wished us luck.

That night our luck changed when my husband brought home Taco Bell for dinner. Our son, Michael, offered Chloe a bit of cheese from his Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and Chloe ate it. Then he offered her bits of lettuce, meat, and tortilla, and she liked that too and began to perk up. From that day forward, we fed Chloe a diet of ground meat, veggies, fruit and grains which she eats to this day.

When I created the character of Teddy, I modeled his diet after Chloe's. The tricks and commands Jillian teaches her little companion are the ones I taught Chloe.

Now, when readers ask why I don't have a Yorkie, I tell them that Chloe was simply too heavy for the tote -- too much good food, I guess. Fortunately, my neighbor had a handsome little Yorkie the entire neighborhood loves. When it came time to make my author photo, I borrowed Romeo (and his owner to care for him) for the shoot.

He was such a good boy! The little fella posed for so many shots, at one point he fell asleep in my arms. My friend rewarded him for his good behavior with a peanut butter flavored chew toy which he got stuck in his fur.  

And so the antics of Teddy began. You can start following Jillian and Teddy's adventures by reading Book 1 Murder in Half Moon Bay - my free ebook gift to you. 
Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords

Have a wonderful week, dear readers.

~Nancy Jill