Monday, January 23, 2017

"Engaged in Danger" is now a Semi-Finalist, woo-hoo!

Here's exciting news--my 4th Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery, "Engaged in Danger" is now a semi-finalist in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Mystery Novel Writing Contest! What an honor! The winners will be chosen April 1st and I'll keep you posted. :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Better late than never! Overdue book passed down 4 generations. :-)

SF library book returned, 100 years overdue

Updated 6:53 pm, Friday, January 13, 2017

Webb Johnson of Fairfield returned a San Francisco library book Friday, 100 years late.

There was no fine.

“Whew,” Johnson said.

The book, a collection of short stories published in 1909, had been checked out by his great-grandmother Phoebe Webb in 1917 from the old Fillmore branch which, like his great-grandmother, is no longer around.

Head City Librarian Luis Herrera welcomed the book back and said the library was very glad to get it, finally. At the 2017 rate of 10 cents a day, the overdue fine would have come to $3,650. Fortunately for Johnson, fines on overdue books are now capped at $5. And under the library’s current amnesty program for overdue books, there’s no fine at all.

The amnesty program has gotten 2,000 overdue books back onto library shelves since it began Jan. 3. About 1,400 delinquent borrowers have had their library privileges restored. An additional 54,000 patrons with accumulated fines of $10 or more are still walking around with suspended library cards. Under the amnesty program, they have until Feb. 14 to turn in their books with no penalty.

Amnesty programs — which San Francisco also offered in 2009, 2004 and 1998 — are somewhat controversial in the generally noncontroversial world of libraries. Some say that when libraries are known to forgive and forget every few years, it offers little incentive to return overdue books at other times. But Herrera said it was all about getting books back in the library where they belong, not about collecting a dime or two or 36,500.

Johnson said a check of family history showed that his great-grandma had died one week before the book was due. The timing suggests that Webb may have had more pressing business to attend to at the time than returning the book, he said.

The amnesty came in handy because Johnson said he had discovered the overdue book in 1996 and had hung onto it ever since. That means “Forty Minutes Late” has been unintentionally late for 79 years and deliberately late for 21 years.

“We figured it was ours now,” Johnson said. “I’m guilty. I know it. Guilty, guilty, guilty.”

The book is by F. Hopkinson Smith, an author, artist and engineer who designed the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The first story in Smith’s collection is about a cranky man who nearly misses a speaking engagement because of a late train. The author, in the story, suggests there are worst sins than being late, such as being cranky — a notion that Johnson says he fully endorses.

Conscience, along with the amnesty program, persuaded him to bring the book back. Another reason he brought it back is his cousin Judy Wells wanted to check it out.
She showed up at the Park Branch Library on Page Street on Friday along with Johnson. After Johnson handed the overdue book back to the library, Wells stepped up to the circulation desk and applied for a library card. She figured she could go right home with “Forty Minutes Late” again, for three weeks or 100 years, whichever comes first.
But Herrera, perhaps reluctant to entrust the volume to the extended Webb-Wells-Johnson family for another century, said “Forty Minutes Late” would be temporarily unavailable until it could be properly re-cataloged and evaluated by library historians.

“I can wait,” Wells said.

Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @SteveRubeSF

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Immense Popularity of the Cozy Mysteries :-)

Check out this wonderful article about the immense popularity of cozy mysteries by Kristen Houghton from The Huffington Post.

Monday, January 2, 2017


 Cada cabeza es un mundo is a Spanish saying which translates to: each head is a different world. It also explains why every person has their own unique brand of crazy (mine is trademarked, so hands off). The human brain is a fascinating and complicated thing with many different ways to go on the fritz. For example, if nails on a chalkboard make you cringe or a fork scraping an empty plate makes you squeal, then you can start to grasp what it means to suffer from misophonia, literally, the hatred of sound. People with misophonia don't hate all sounds, just the hateful ones. And those sounds can send them into a rage…
Like you, I'd never heard of misophonia (also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome), until I learned about it the hard way. Who knew that one little piece of chewing gum could cause so much trouble? Foolishly, I thought that getting gum on your shoe or in your hair were the worst possible scenarios, but I couldn't have been more wrong. One day when I was clothes shopping with a friend while happily chewing (not snapping, popping, or cracking) a piece of gum, she almost took my head off.

"Do you HAVE to chew your gum so loudly?"

"Um…I guess not," I said, taking a few steps back. "Sorry. Hey, are you okay? You seem to be overreacting just a tad." (I couldn't say what I was really thinking: Are you a pod person from Invasion of the Body Snatchers?)

She apologized, but continued to glare at me as if her mouth were independent of her brain, which hated my guts at that moment. It was freaky, to say the least. She had not yet diagnosed herself through the ever-handy internet and therefore couldn't explain her bizarre behavior. It wasn't until months later when she called me, gleeful, to say that she wasn't a head case after all, she had a real syndrome and, even more exciting, other people had it too! Now she could understand why she loathed the sound of people chewing, couldn't stand to watch her mother-in-law fidget with her hands, and wanted to kill people to stop them from making noise. She had found an online community of kindred spirits, tortured souls who couldn't stand the sounds of clicking pens, ticking clocks, clacking keyboards, whispering, whistling, singing (especially bad singing), slurping, yawning, sniffling, snorting, snoring, sneezing, throat-clearing, paper rustling, leaf blowing, corduroy rubbing, change rattling, and dogs licking. Just to name a few.

"That IS exciting," I said, being the supportive friend that I am. "What's the cure?"

"Oh, there isn't one," she said. "Except habituation, training yourself not to mind. If you mix in sounds you enjoy--like waterfalls, or classical music, you can get used to the bad sounds eventually."

"How's it going?" I asked.

"Terrible," she confessed. "I just leave the room when people chew too loudly, before my head starts spinning around like in The Exorcist."

"Smart move," I said.

"Thanks! You know, it's been a while since we got together and I'd love to see you. Want to do lunch?"

I laughed. "Not on your life."