Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and is now observed on the last Monday in the month of May. In the United States, this solemn holiday is dedicated to the reflection and remembrance of men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The website History.com has published a collection of 9 Things You May Not Know by author Barbara Maranzani about Memorial Day. (The website also includes an explanation by author Tim Ott of the origins and key differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day here in the United States. Note: many countries honor the fallen during Remembrance Day ceremonies held in November of each year.)
It’s a time-honored tradition to commemorate those who lost their lives in battle by paying tribute through music and poetry. That tradition continues with the song If You’re Reading Thiswhich was co-written by Tim McGraw and the brothers Brad and Brett Warren in 2007. This was recorded live, and the applause you hear is the audience’s reaction to after seeing a hundred relatives of fallen military members standing onstage under a banner that read Families of Fallen Heroes.
A personal request: even if you don’t listen to the song, I hope you will take four minutes out of your day to watch the video slideshow, which was created by a YouTube member known as xXxJack5775xXx as a tribute to the fallen.
For the second time in my professional life, I’m bidding farewell to a decades-long career.
Nearly 30 years ago, I retired from active military duty and moved on to graduate studies and new pursuits in higher education. This month I bid farewell to my second career as a college professor, course designer, academic advisor, and communications coach. After 24 years focusing on public speaking, interpersonal communication, and organizational dynamics, it’s time to seek new adventures.
And while I have no immediate interest in accepting offers for speaking engagements or teaching, I’ll heed the words of Charles Dickens who wrote “Never say never” in his debut novel The Pickwick Papers. I do, however, have immediate plans to immerse myself in writing and editing projects. The most pressing of these is Dangerous Deeds (book 2 in the Waterside Kennels mystery series) which has been gathering metaphorical dust on the computer’s hard drive.
I’ll also continue to use this blog to feature other authors and their books, and will do my best to keep up with the ever-changing tech trends in the publishing industry. On that note, I’ll pass this along: Jane Friedman—book publishing industry expert in author education and trend reporting—has this to say about Steven Marche’s article in The Atlantic: “Best thing I’ve read yet on generative AI, writing, and creativity….Worth a read regardless of how you feel about generative AI.” Find that article here. And I’ll note that I agree with Jane Friedman–the article is definitely worth your time to read.
Time now for me to step away from the computer and squeeze in a walk with Sasha before the rain returns. I’ll leave you with this photo of Buddy The Wonder Cat demonstrating “must do” behavior for a happy retirement:
I always appreciate authors who can draw upon their professional experiences, research skills, and love of books to create a fictional world that’s uniquely their own. Today’s featured author, Cindy Quayle, has done just that, combining her passion for mystery fiction—and cozy mysteries in particular—with a love of travel and adventure. To my way of thinking, Cindy’s debut work, Death on Cozumel Island, could be described as a “destination mystery.” I’ve added the book to my TBR stack; if you’re interested in kicking off your own summer reading with a cozy mystery set in a beautiful locale, read on!
Q&A With Cindy
What inspired you to write a cozy mystery?
When I gave birth to my first-born son over 16 years ago, I wanted something fun and light-hearted to read. My first cozy mystery book was by Joanne Fluke, and I loved that her main character was a strong, independent woman. I also enjoyed all the dessert recipes that were included.
Tell us about your amateur sleuth.
My main character, Claire O’Keefe, is an English as a Foreign Language teacher, which means she teaches English overseas rather than in the U.S.or other countries that speak English as their first language. Her half Korean and half Irish-American heritage influences her outlook on life and her self-esteem. Claire also deeply cares about her friends, and when they are wrongly accused of committing a crime, she does everything in her power to help them and solve the mystery.
How did you choose Cozumel as the setting for your first book?
I was inspired when my family went to the island for a scuba diving vacation three years ago and I realized it was the perfect place to set my first cozy mystery. It’s funny because before I wrote Death on Cozumel Island, I wasn’t able to finish a story. After our time on the island, though, the plot just fell into place for me.
What’s next in this series?
Yes! My amateur sleuth Claire returns to the Bay area, where she’s deeply involved in solving another mystery.
Praise for Death on Cozumel Island
“Fun debut in a new cozy mystery series…I look forward to seeing what will happen next for Claire.”
“Cozy mystery fans will love this. It’s a perfect beach or vacation read!”
“It’s the perfect blend of atmosphere, suspense, and intrigue. I’m looking forward to my next Claire O’Keefe mystery and excited to see where her next adventure takes her!”
Genre: Cozy Mystery Publication Date: February 22, 2023 Number of Pages: 246 ISBN-13: 979-8375789989 (paperback)
Cindy was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest. Her love for storytelling began in elementary school, when she was introduced to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
Her professional background includes service in the U.S. Navy, where she learned to appreciate the cultural diversity of the people from myriad countries she was stationed in or visited during port calls. Currently, Cindy holds a faculty position in the Spring International Language Center at the University of Arkansas, where she teaches Intensive English language and other programs to international students.
Gobal travel and cross-cultural experiences, together with a graduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language, provided a firm foundation for writing the Claire O’ Keefe cozy mystery series. Today, Cindy lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband, two teenage boys, and two mischievous beagles. To learn more about the series, you can follow her on Instagram or contact her through Facebook to order an autographed copy of Death on Cozumel Island.
In the interest of supporting authors who have encouraged and inspired me, I enjoy highlighting a variety of great books by terrific writers here on this website. That trend continues with Libby Fischer Hellmann, who is an incredibly prolific and award-winning author of both long and short fiction. Libby’s books cross the spectrum of crime fiction—suspenseful mysteries, PI novels, amateur sleuths, police procedurals, historical fiction, and thrillers that will keep you reading far into the night.
Want to know more? Check out Libby’s website and you’ll find her own bookstore where you can buy books at a discount. Her work is available in audiobook, Ebook, and personally autographed paperback formats. You can also find Libby’s books through her Amazon store.
With over 20 titles in print, Libby features one of her ”Backlist” novels every month or so in a short video. Here’s one: