Saturday, December 7, 2019



How do two modern, quirky, twenty-something gals solve murders in a small, cozy USA town?
Easy. With a little time travel, some humor, and a lot of hard work. When the skeptical Brooke first meets the psychic Abby, she’s not impressed. But with the help of her comfort cat, her middle-aged roomie, her childhood friend, and a hunky detective hinting at a sweet romance, Brooke not only accepts that Abby has real gifts, it’s clear that these five people and one cat make up a crack team.

Got tea, anyone? In 1773, the Boston Tea Party sure did. Find out why going back in time helps break the case!

Book Details:

Title: Tea, Anyone?

Author: S. R. Mallery

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery series, book 1

Published: November 19, 2019

Print length: 190 pages


Q: If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
A: I would definitely go back in time to my great aunt’s house in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. A simple clapboard New England hide-away, it didn’t have much property surrounding it and when you took the rickety, weather-beaten, wooden steps down to her little piece of private beach, you weren’t met with pristine white sand, just big bulky looking rocks, which made it impossible to move, much less swim or sun-bathe. But her screened-in porch overlooking the Menemsha Bay had a peaceful magic for me. With nearby buoys clanging, seagulls gently squawking as they swooped down and around in beautiful patterns, my frail, musicologist of a relative, always gave me wise, supportive counsel––and much love.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: Before I became a writer at fifty, amongst a whole host of other careers, I was a quilt designer and lastly, an English As A Second Language teacher. I truly loved my students. Still do. They were wonderful examples of not only how hard it is to leave one’s own country and family to start a new life here, but also how they manage to do it with grace and humor. But I left teaching because preparing lessons and writing were basically sabotaging my brain. It’s not fun to alternate from a new lesson plan details to the inevitable, “What’s my latest character thinking as she’s doing this?” Particularly when you’re driving to work! Yikes!

Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
A: A long time ago, I worked on the phones of a battered women’s shelter. I was glad to do it, but it sure wasn’t easy hearing all the horror stories of abuse. So this time, I think I’d rather volunteer to help veterans in some way. Their stories are more than sad as well, but the older I get, the more I feel badly about all the sacrifices they have made for our country. After all, these men and women deserve the very best, no?

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: That’s an easy one. Mark Twain. Boy, what a kick that would be! Imagine the breadth and scope of his insightful humor. Quotes such as, “Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed often, and for the same reasons,”  “If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it,” and, “We have the best government money can buy,” says it all.LOL. I think I may be one of the few people who has a little Mark Twain quotations booklet in our bathroom.  Does that make me weird?

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: I would probably like living in one of those charming little British villages that figure so prominently in the “Midsomer Mystery” series. Of course, if I did live in such a small and quaint town, I would not want to be a murder suspect… or a victim.


5 things you need in order to write:  

    •    my laptop
    •    a pencil & pad
    •    my Merriam Webster Thesaurus
    •     Google Search
    •     my imagination!

5 things you love about writing: 

I’ll mention four things first then relate a little story, if you don’t mind.
    •    I like thinking about scenes, motivations, and plots. My overactive OCD brain seems to thrive on being involved with anything creative.
    •    I absolutely love editing. I know, I know, most authors don’t, but for some reason, after I sling my words down, I enjoy going back to “attack” them until they make sense.
    •    I enjoy jotting down ideas onto little papers or 3 x 5 cards, then put them away for later. Probably comes from sewing all those pesky little quilt blocks together in my former career.
    •    I love doing research, be it from the internet, TV, movies, or books.
    •    here’s the main reason: My very first short story was written just outside of a Macy’s Foundations department, where I waited for my then teenage daughter to select a few bras. She was taking her sweet time, so, as I sat on a leather couch nearby, I got out a little pad and pencil and started scribbling a short story. Forty-five minutes later, my daughter appeared, apologizing heartily for taking so long. I looked up at her, dazed, my mind exploding with inspired thoughts and images. “It’s okay, honey,” I told her. “Why don’t you go back and check out some panties?”
    Twenty years later, I feel the same way. Once I start writing, time stops for me.

5 things you always put in your books:  

    •    Because characters are so important to me, I always do research about their characteristics. For example, in my Genteel Secrets, an evil cousin blackmails the female lead into spying. I started out by making the cousin just plain mean. Then I thought about it. That was too simplistic. Why would she be that way? So I took out my book, The Writers Guide to Character Traits, by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. According to her, sometimes a severe accident can change one’s brain enough to create character flaws. Bingo. Problem solved. She was thrown from a horse as a child––and was changed forever.
    •    I also work hard––along with my editor’s gentle reminders––to “Show Not Tell” my characters’ emotions. I first learned about that from the wonderful Harper Lee, who demonstrated all that so beautifully her To Kill A Mockingbird. Actions and little personal gestures speak volumes.
    •    Plots are important for me as well. Sure, I’d love to write the most glorious prose on the planet. Long, detailed and gorgeous paragraphs that make you swoon with admiration. But you know what? After a page or two of that, I’m usually bored enough to start flipping those pages to get to the ‘good stuff,’ the stuff I care about––plots, characters, and motivations. 
    •    Most of my books have been historical fiction, and even my new cozy mystery has some time travel in it. I work very hard to create the past as authentically as I can. That means learning about what went on at that particular time, both in film, TV series, books, and articles.
    •    I like to create vocabulary and phrase sheets of the era I’m portraying, so when you see my dialogues you’re never going to read someone say, “Sure thing, Babe,” when a man is talking to his mistress during the 1700s. My brain has closed for the night. Sorry . . .

5 favorite things to do:  

    •    Sometimes, to de-stress, I just go onto my Youtube app and watch all kinds of videos. Puppies, kittens, parrots, toddlers dancing to music, funny Late Night opening monologues, scenes from comical movies––whatever does the trick. Forget meditation. For me, letting those laughing endorphins loose hits the spot! 
   •    I also like to water my plants because I listen to music while I’m doing it and I’m outside (negative ions, negative ions). 
   •    I like to have family and friends over (once I’ve cleaned up the house, that is!). 
   •    I like my Senior and Fit exercise class. Not only is it helping me physically, as someone who is past thirty (WAY past), before class and after, it is like walking into a cocktail party, everyone is so chatty and friendly. 
   •    lastly, I LOVE to cuddle with my cat, Junebug. She’s actually featured in my Tea, Anyone? So now, I actually write notes on what cute things she does for future books in the series. Does she realize why I’m taking out a pad and pencil as I coo at her? Maybe. But chances are, she’s just wondering when I’m going to feed her next.

5 people you consider as heroes:  

I’m going to just name some groups of people.
    •    fire fighters who deal with such danger all the time. We owe them so much!
    •    people who stand up against injustices in the world, no matter their jobs or politics.
    •    scientists who work tirelessly to discover cures for horrendous diseases.
    •    people with crippling conditions who fight every day just to survive.
    •    people who quietly donate great sums of money to charities without any fanfare.


Q: What’s your all-time favorite place?
A: On the upper East Side of New York City, there is an old building that used to be someone’s mansion. It’s called the New York Society Library, and is actually the city’s oldest institution. Established in 1754, early on, it even served as the Library of Congress. I loved the fact that my voraciously well-read mother faithfully went there once a week. Inside, there was a main reading room, where huge armchairs and sofas surrounded a giant stone fireplace and nearby little brass lamps sat atop of a wide mahogany table. I marveled at the complete peacefulness and comfort it gave me as I sat with my own little pile of young girlie books, as my brother sat across the way, devouring scientific encyclopedias and our mother blissfully turned pages from one of the seven or eight books she had chosen for the week.

Q: What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
A: Having graduated with a Bachelor of Music as a voice major, I soon faced a dilemma. Although I was told my voice was pretty enough, when it came to performing, I froze. I had gotten several church soloist jobs, always with so much nervousness it wasn’t fun. But then it hit me. I simply needed to loosen up more. It was 1979 and disco was coming in big time. So I tried out in front of a small band as their female singer. I got the job and we played at various inconsequential places here and there. But one place was a college type bar, much like the one in Cheers. Little did I know that singing there was about to change my life.
In the audience was a really good looking man who, after talking to me on a couple of my breaks, finally asked for my phone number. I insisted on taking his, calling him two days later. And the rest, as they say, is history. I had met my hubby of forty years.

Q: What’s your favorite time of day?   
A: Mornings . . . definitely! Even if I don’t get a ton of sleep the night before, just give me a couple of cups of half caffeine, half decaf, poured into my thermos with some Almond milk, and I’m a happy camper. While hubby watches some morning news, I’m off to our bedroom with my laptop, with whatever I’m working on, along with my pencil and eraser, my thermos, and my cellphone. Soon, our kitty, Junebug, jumps up to join me, with her usual squoosh-one-side-of-her-face-against-my-fingers before she circles around once or twice, then flops down close to me to make sure she’ll get more pets and rubs as I work. And we’re off and running. I do take breaks to exercise and clean up a bit. And sometimes, if sleep deprived, by afternoon, I’m ready for a nap. By night, as far as ideas coming into my head, the right side of my brain doesn’t work that well. Remember, I’m an established morning gal. However, my left side works just fine.  So sometimes, I design my promos then.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Ice cream. Ice Cream. Ice Cream. And then, of course––there’s always ice cream.

Q: What’s your favorite color?

A: Mauve or Periwinkle blue. My hubby says I obviously got to play with a much bigger crayon set than he did, so I learned early about extensive color pallets).

Q: What book are you currently working on?
A: Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery Book 2, When In Rome. This time, the clairvoyant, Abby, goes back to Ancient Rome and finds out about poisons . . . and how they were used. Oooooh.

Q: All-time favorites with pictures:
A: This first one is me at four years old, with my brother. I have NO idea why I was wearing that crazy space outfit. I looked ridiculous! And talk about being a major blockhead. Twenty-six later, I was thirty and looked a bit more normal. That’s just after I had married my husband (I checked the wedding ring in the picture).

The other photo is of Venice, Italy. I was just shy of twelve and that summer my family went to England and Italy. So many good memories, but I remember how much I loved Venice. So beautiful, and the sounds of the water lapping, the gondoliers . . . back then, it was heaven. I hear now they have far too many tourists around with huge cruise ships barging in.

Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: I’ve discovered PB2 Chocolate powder. I use it to make up mug cakes, freeze into little cookies, and turn into popsicles. Recently, I’ve also blended two tablespoons of it with a frozen banana, a little almond milk, and a splash of vanilla, then poured it into a small tub to freeze. Talk about Yummmm. Excuse me while I go make up some more for tonight . . .
Music: Frankly, I am completely eclectic when it comes to music, no matter the genre. If it’s good, I like/love it. But recently, I’ve been appreciating some movie music scores, particularly when they help to create a dramatic mood or tell a story. For example, in The Firm, the constant banging of an old piano really creates tension throughout. In Vertigo, those haunting sounds are perfect. And let’s face it, Jaws is amazing, and The Godfather theme captures that old Sicilian feeling like nobody’s business!
Movie: Green Book. Loved it for its touching appeal and great character personality arcs.
Book: I recently read a sci-fi A.I. book, which completely surprised me how much I got into it. I mean usually anything that says A.I., I’m already tuning out. But this one was very well done. It was written by Inge-loss Goss, called, No Freedom.
Audiobook: Pride and Prejudice. Now I have to say, I love all the movies made from Jane Austen’s books, but, reading her has always been a problem for me. She’s a bit too clause-oriented. I mean, those commas keep coming and coming. However, when I got a free copy of Pride and Prejudice, narrated by the fine actress, Rosamund Pike, I couldn't believe how much she made Austen’s work come alive. Bravo to her!
TV: Mysteries of the Museum and Lucky Dog.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Recently, I’ve watched Succession and Peaky Blinders.
Miscellaneous: I enjoy putting my once-a-month Newsletter together, not just for promoting my own books, but also to give back to authors—like you do so well, Amy! I may start releasing it twice a month, starting next year. We’ll see . . .

Q: What books do you currently have published?
A: The Dolan Girls
In 1800s Nebraska, where ladies of the night, brutal outlaws, colorful land rushes, and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows are the norm, can a whorehouse madam and her schoolmarm daughter both find true love?
Ellie & The War on Powder Creek 
It’s 1891 and The Dolan Girls western romance saga continues. It stars the feisty Ellie Dolan Parker, who finds herself caught up in the middle of the Wyoming Cattle Wars. Filled with Rich, greedy cattle barons, crooked politicians, a major kidnapping, local ranchers in life-threatening danger, and a troubled marriage, this story is a colorful portrayal of a forgotten time. A time when these events and people filled the newspapers.
Unexpected Gifts 
Can we learn from our ancestors? In this 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold medal winner, a confused college student learns about life from her ancestors’ journals, as she reads of their time during Vietnam, Woodstock, McCarthyism, the Great Depression, their arrival on Ellis Island, and fighting as Suffragists.
Trouble in Glamour Town
Murder. Corruption. Romance. Movie Stars. A modern-day TV shoot ‘em up? No. It’s 1926 Old Hollywood, and a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. In comes Rosie, a pretty bit-player, who, in spite of her stage-mother’s expectations, just longs to be happy. Silent screen idols Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, as Los Angeles’ corruption is exposed, the era described, and a chase to find the killer revs up before there’s another hit.
Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
History, mystery, action, and romance are all rolled into one book in this 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner. These short stories follow drug traffickers using hand-woven wallets; a U. S. slave sewing freedom codes into quilts; a cruise ship murder mystery; hiding Christian passports in Nazi Germany; Salem Witchcraft quilt curse; the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and a 1967 Haight-Ashbury love affair gone horribly wrong, just to name a few.
Tender Enemies  
It’s 1941 in New York City, a time before Pearl harbor, when Nazi spies are everywhere in the U. S. and no one knows who’s working for whom. In comes beautiful Lily, paid to gather intelligence by setting up a “honey trap” for Joe Stiles, a supposed German infiltrator. Problem is, she soon faces a danger she isn’t prepared for––falling in love.
Tales To Count On 
Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these stories, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic collides with gothic, will remind you in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.
Genteel Secrets 
What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working-class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage…and romance. At the start of the U.S. Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can this unlikely Romeo and Juliet couple’s love survive, or will they be just another casualty of war?
Snippets In Time 
Drift back in time with award winning S. R. Mallery, as she presents some excerpts––or “snippets”––from her different books. They range from an American family saga to full, historical adventures involving sewing; from a U.S. Civil War Romeo and Juliet couple defying all odds to a 1926 Old Hollywood romantic murder mystery; from both a colorful Western romance and a Nazi spy romance thriller to short stories that keep you guessing.

A USA Today Best Selling author and two-time Readers' Favorite Gold Medal winner, S. R. Mallery—as her fans say—"brings history to life."
They say she's as eclectic as her characters. She's been a singer, a composer, a calligrapher, a quilt artist, and an ESL/Reading teacher. But it is the world of writing historical fiction where she feels she's come "home." It's where she's received various awards and in addition, get to do her second love: Research.
When people talk about the news of the day, or when she listens to music, her overactive imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past, which helps her conjure up scenes between characters she's yet to meet.

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