Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Call her the Church Lady?

The lighthearted first Hope Street Church mystery introduces 32-year-old Cooper Lee as she grapples with the end of a five-year romance. Stanley's faith-based crime detection has plenty of charming appeal.

**Publishers Weekly on Stirring Up Strife

Talk about charming appeal! PW might have been talking about Jennifer (JB) Stanley herself.

Next time you're at a mystery party or convention or gathering--stop and listen and figure out where the laughter is. And there, right in the center of it all, is where you will find Jennifer Stanley. You probably know her from the Supper Club mysteries, but now Jen is venturing into new territory with her Hope Street Church series. We wish her all the best--and hope she has good luck with it!

Good luck, huh? Jen is wondering about that today..and wants to know how you whether you've given your car or desk or purse a special "charm" of its own.

(And at the end--she's got a contest!Two little words: free book.)

Lucky Charms For the Road

JENNIFER: Though we’ve been snowed in for days, I’ve been making my spring travel plans. I’ll do some flying, but most of treks will be road trips. Lately, I’ve been noticing the variety of objects folks hang from their rearview mirrors. I’ve got a little toy (Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter, to be exact) hanging from mine because my little brother gave it to me for my Honda back in the early 90s. I’d always considered it a good luck charm because I haven’t had an accident while that little gizmo was in the car.

In Greece, most of the drivers have an evil eye protector in their vehicle and if you’ve ever seen their treacherously narrow, winding, and steep country roads (flanked on both sides by memorial altars with photographs of those who did not safely make the turn) you’d understand why.

I did a little research on good luck charms. Celebrities certainly carry them. For example, Geoffrey Rush of “Shine” fame carried a plastic Daffy Duck to the Oscars, Cameron Diaz wears a special “Anti-aging” luck necklace given to her by a girlfriend, and singer Meat Loaf won’t travel anywhere without his plush bears, Mandy and Marietta.

After the Miracle on the Hudson, people became vocal about the items they need to have boarding an airplane. Whether a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf cover, or lucky coin, people like to have their lucky objects close at hand. Or they just use their hands as a lucky charm. For example, the hunky host of Extreme Home Makeover, Ty Pennington crosses the fingers of his right hand during take-off and remains stock still until the plane reaches cruising altitude.

In addition to portable charms, some folks have lucky clothing. My husband won’t spend the night in the hospital on call without wearing a specific black t-shirt. He wears it because none of his patients have died while he was on an overnight call wearing that shirt. It’s a good reason to keep it in circulation despite its holes and bleach stains.

Then, we’ve got our number hang-ups. Me, I have no problem with the number 13. As far as dates go, my luckiest day is Monday. It’s the day when my agent has always phoned to tell me about selling one of my series and it’s also the day of the week when my son was born. The Chinese love the number nine and I do as well as STIRRING UP STRIFE is my 9th book.

Do you carry a charm in your car? Do you wear one? Have a lucky color, article of clothing, number, or ritual? I will send a signed copy of STIRRING UP STRIFE to a lucky commenter.
J.B. Stanley has a BA in English from Franklin & Marshall College, an MA in English Literature from West Chester University, and an MLIS from North Carolina Central University. She taught sixth grade language arts in Cary, North Carolina for the majority of her eight-year teaching career. Raised an antique-lover by her grandparents and parents, Stanley also worked part-time in an auction gallery. An eBay junkie and food-lover, Stanley now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, two young children, and three cats.


  1. I drive a VW Bug, which has a built-in vase (!). I used to have an American flag in it, that I got at my daughter's football game (no, she wasn't playing--she was in the band) held the weekend after 9/11, but I had to give that to a DAR meeting. But I still have an eagle's feather that I found.

  2. I have a lucky penny that I found on the floor at Malice Domestic. Long story. But I love that penny.

    xox H

  3. Hey JB - looking forward to reading the new series.

    As far a lucky charms, I have a scarf blessed by the Tibetian Monks my sister sent me during the chemo...

  4. Tuesday has always been special to us. We were both born on Tuesday, as were our fathers. All four of our sons were born on Tuesday. When the last one was on the way, we pretty much knew what his birthday was going to be because we knew it would be a Tuesday!

  5. Wow, plastic! Happy Tuesday! (I would have expected you to have a plastic santa on your dashboard..hmmm?)

  6. welcome JB! and good luck with the new series--sounds like a winner!

    I guess my lucky charms are my husband and my pets. Though I wouldn't mind if Cameron Diaz would share the anti-aging necklace...

  7. Hi JB,
    Welcome to Jungle Red. What a great topic. When the kids were little, my husband took them to a jewelry store and they bought me little gold guardian angel earrings for Mother's Day. I wear them for luck to win tennis matches.

    And for flights.The guardian angels and a little valium and I'm all set to fly!!

  8. I look forward to reading your series, JB. I carry a little Japanese good-luck-in-driving charm that I brought home with me from there 33 years ago, and it's worked so far (even in West Africa). For flying, I am personally responsible for getting the plane off and back onto the ground at takeoff and landing by closing my eyes and in silence repeating the 4 principles of Aikido: Weight underside, maintain one-point, relax completely, extend your ki. It's also worked so far!


  9. I had a college pal who always wore something red on an airplane. Why? She had no idea. And hilariously, that made a lot of sense to me. (Luckily, my nail polish counts.)

  10. Edith..ah. That's very powerful. I just tried it. Not in connection with flying, of course. I'm not kidding..it's--something. Thank you.

  11. Jan, sistah, does valium count as a lucky charm??

  12. I have a black hematitie cross on my rear view mirror, I wear a Celtic protection symbol as a necklace, and when I was playing pool in the APA I used a little rubber Pikachu to mark the pocket for my 8 ball shots in tournaments. We went to Las Vegas for the Nationals the last year that I played.

  13. Mare--what??? Las vegas? Finals? You never cease to amaze me...Tell us more!!

  14. Glad you liked that, Hank. It is powerful. (Hey, I saw your Jonathan in a promo on TV at the gym yesterday, too, right before your promo. What a pair!)

  15. Hey Edith--yes, isn't that funny? Jonathan's the defense attorney in a pretty intersting murder case, and yesterday was an important hearing about jailhouse tapes of phone calls.

    We always laugh when we're both on the news!

  16. Wow, this is a cool list of charms. No boring rabbit's feet or clovers for this group.

    My mom wanted me to add that she has a plastic alien toy in her car that she's had for years. I believe it was actually a Cracker Jack toy before they began to give away only stickers and temporary tattoos.

    Hank, I want to hear that oenny story!

  17. Valium as a charm? It is portable. I believe my sinful charm would be margaritas. I mean - they make me see everything in a rosier light. Doesn't that count?

    And Roberta - you don't need that anti-aging charm. You're lovely!

  18. Keep those good luck charms coming--we can use anything you've got!

    Just a preview of coming attractions:

    Tomorrow: Kelli Stanley reveals the secrets of book touring. And it apparently has something to do with macadamia nuts. Or just--being nuts. One or the other. Or both. See what you think!

    Thursday, Beth Solheim reveals something so surprising, it stopped me in my tracks.

    And Friday--well, just come back and see.l

  19. Hey Jennifer! Thought I'd venture over from Cozy Chicks--and here you are! Great post, and I can't wait to start your new series. It's such a fun premise!

    I'm always trying to find something lucky to hang onto, but I lose everything. I tried to keep a lucky Canadian penny from a special trip in a safe place, but I ended up spending it somewhere. Sigh.

    As for flying, in my family we recommend three Our Fathers and two Bloody Marys. :-)

  20. With my luck, if I had a lucky charm I'd probably lose it.

  21. Aw, Sheila, we'll lend you one!

    Kate, your new book looks fab. Can't wait to get it from the bookstore this weekend.

  22. Ladies,

    Thanks for having me today. What an honor. Until we meet in person or again in cyberspace, snuggle under that blanket and enjoy your current read.

  23. Kate, that's hilairous!

    And Sheila, you are too funny. That's a great line..

    Tomorrow--Kelli Stanley! A real femme fatale wants your advice about going on the road..