Sunday, April 12, 2015

Featured Author: Judi Culbertson

About the book:

For the first time in nearly twenty years, Delhi Laine’s family is whole. But that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. With no proof to condemn her daughter’s kidnappers, Delhi’s family is forced to share Elisa with her “adopted” parents. But when they suddenly perish in a mysterious house fire, Elisa is heartbroken . . . and Delhi’s husband, Colin, is charged with their murder. Delhi knows it’s up to her to prove his innocence, but the deeper she digs, the more it becomes evident that nothing is as it seems. When Elisa goes missing, Delhi fears her nightmare may be repeating itself. If she can’t clear Colin’s name and find Elisa again, there may not be another chance. Twenty years ago she lost her daughter . . . if she fails now, she might lose everything — and everyone — she holds dear.

Guest Post: Playing Authors

            Have you always secretly known that you could write a wonderful novel if you only had the time? Now is the time. Rather, at your next party or family gathering your words can entertain and intrigue everyone around you. My family proves that every Thanksgiving when, after dinner, seven or eight of us gather in my brother’s living room and play the “First Line Game.” 

            The game goes like this: Everyone is equipped with a blank pad and pen. The first person chooses a book from the pile of paperback novels and mysteries that I have amassed cheaply  from thrift stores, and reads descriptive paragraphs on the back out loud.  Usually they need to do it twice. Then everyone else writes an opening sentence for the book.

            The sentences are turned in and read to the group by the first reader who has written out the real first sentence from the book and reads it along with the others. Then each person tries to guess the author’s opening line. When the votes are tallied, players get one point if identify it correctly. So do people whose made-up line is picked as the true one. It often comes down to a choice between trying to be authentic and being funny. The next person in the circle chooses a book and so on.

            Relaxed by turkey, a walk in the woods, and a few glasses of wine, people produce inspiring and often hilarious openings. For a cozy mystery set on the campus of Princeton University, New Jersey, someone at another gathering wrote, “Not all murders happen in Newark.” For a southern gothic romance, my husband contributed, “Up to her pretty neck in alligators, Samantha waded through the bayou, frantic to find the man of her dreams.”

            Spoiler alert: Neither of those lines was the real one.

            Genre books – mystery, romance, and fantasy – work best. Their colorful plots seem to inspire creativity and none of them begin “All happy families are alike.”

            Last year we tried poetry, supplying the last line of a stanza.  It didn’t work quite as well. This year it’s back to Samantha and the bayou.

About the author:

Judi Culbertson draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. No stranger to cemeteries, she also co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, starting with Permanent Parisians. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.

Connect with the author:
Website  |  Goodreads