Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Galeophobia and Banana Cake

HANK:  Galeophobia? A bête noir cake? A Scattergories challenge?

More about our new Reds! So much to find out…

I confess--I am singing impaired. Honestly, if I sign a song, you might have no idea what it is. Ingrid and Jenn—give us the scoop. 
Can you sing? Play an instrument?

INGRID: I have a decent singing voice and performed in musicals in my younger years.  My sister Lisa and I used to perform our own version of “The Donny and Marie Show.”  She, very graciously, was Donny.  I never studied an instrument, but another sister, Erika, was a wonderful piano player (and singer), so I grew up listening to lots of classical piano music.

JENN: I'm a singer. The rest of my people are musicians. With Hub being a professional guitar player and our sons following his lead, the frat house is a very loud house! I’m actually the backup singer for Adele. She just doesn’t know that.

HANK: Yeah, I’m backup for EmmyLou. Who is equally oblivious. How about food? Are you a good cook?  What’s your specialty?  Or if not—what’s your downfall?

INGRID:I can cook certain things well, but I am not an enthusiastic cook.  I cook because I need to eat, and I try to eat healthy foods, which often requires that I cook them.  I do love to eat, and I like flipping through cookbooks.  If only I had a personal chef!   I prefer baking to cooking and make a delicious Swedish apple pie.  My baking downfall is the amazing banana cake from the Silver Palate cookbook; that recipe never turns out right, but I can’t figure out where I’ve gone wrong! 

JENN: I'm a baker. Since I write a cupcake bakery mystery series - cupcakes are a specialty. Regular food cooking is meh. Clearly, I'm sugar motivated.

HANK: I won’t even ask about your TBR piles..tottering TBRs are a hallmark of us all. But what book are you reading right now? (I’m reading Duplicity…J)

JENN: I'm rereading Postcards from the Edge with The Princess Diarist up next. Yep, I'm taking Carrie Fisher's passing pretty hard. She was a brilliant writer

INGRID: I’m reading the ARC of “Burning Bright” by Nick Petrie.  I really enjoyed Nick’s first book, “The Drifter,” and it’s been great diving into the next installment in the series.  Nick and I are doing a couple of events together on my upcoming book tour (in Scottsdale and Houston,) and I look forward to picking his brain about his engaging but enigmatic character, Peter Ash.

HANK:  What’s the one thing no one besides your family knows?

INGRID: I polled them, and they seem to think that only they know I’m a mean Scattergories competitor.  This is true. 

JENN: I suffer from galeophobia (fear of sharks). I blame Shark Week.

HANK: Well, now we know the difference—Ingrid’s a scuba diver! But still, as we know, wary of sharks.  Final question for today. Mine is: “You never know.”
What’s your motto?

INGRID: In college, my best friend, Davenie, and I had a motto that has served me well: “You look good, you feel good, you do good.”  This is why I don’t work in my pajamas.  Nor do I wear an evening gown, but I also try to look like I made an effort.  I think it signals to my brain—and the world—that I mean business!

JENN: "Never give up and never, under any circumstances, face the facts." Ruth Gordon said it, but it's been my motto for decades.

HANK:   Oh, um, okay. Off to change clothes.  But I am great at ignoring the facts—in fiction, at least.  And we are so happy to have you all here…new Reds, and the new friends we are making. Hurray!

My turn to have a giveaway today—introduce yourself! Tell us where you are! And one commenter will win the first in both my series: Agatha winner PRIME TIME and Mary Higgins Clark Winner THE OTHER WOMAN!
So introduce yourself, not only to us, but to each other—Jungle Red stalwarts—you, too!  And tomorrow, I’ll announce the winner.

Tomorrow—a very special kind of food.  Will you like it?
Friday: YOUR questions to new Reds Jenn and Ingrid.
Saturday: a big giveaway.
And Sunday: our dear Kaye Barley. Aw.  Wait ‘til you meet her!

Okay—eager to hear from you!


  1. Jenn and Ingrid, I love reading all the interesting little pieces of what makes each of you special. But I’m not so good at telling about myself . . . I never really know what to say, I guess, but here goes:
    I have an identical twin sister. My sweetheart and I have been married for thirty-eight years; much to my chagrin, none of my grandbabies live close to us.
    My to-be-read pile is forever teetering [and regularly must be propped up to keep from tumbling over], even though I am always reading. [Currently, it’s “The Obsidian Chamber” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.]
    I definitely don’t like sharks, Jenn; I live on the Jersey shore but I am not a water person [and just looking at a boat makes me seasick].
    Sad to say, I can’t carry a tune and I don’t play any instruments. I chuckled at your cooking comments because I love to cook . . .
    As for that motto thing, I’ll have to that some thought . . . .

  2. Jenn and Ingrid: Thanks for answering more of Hank's intrepid questions! We are learning more about each of you (beyond the author persona).

    I have been an avid reader of mystery fiction since childhood. I grew up in Toronto and had moved to our snowy capital, Ottawa, for work in 2014 but am now retired from the Canadian federal government.

    I have @10,000 mysteries in my collection, and read across the mystery fiction genre.
    Of course, I enjoy reading all the Reds(!) and interacting on the JRW on a regular basis.

    I have also enjoyed reading your books but I am usually one behind the current book for Jenn since she writes several series and my overwhelming TBR mountain keeps calling. I have attended Bouchercons since 1992 and Left Coast Crime mystery conventions since 2000. This is a great way to not only meet both established and new authors, as well as on-line friends but to travel to new cities and explore the sights and eat great food (another obsession of mine). I will be going to both LCC Honolulu and Toronto's Bouchercon this year, so I hope to see you there!

  3. Good morning new Reds! I'm a mom to two fabulous adult sons, a gardener where I live north of Boston, a cook (and baker), and a full-time mystery fiction author, my last and most favorite career. I've been reading crime fiction since I was a child - still am, of course - and am delighted to be living my dream of writing it.

    I write the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, and as Maddie Day I write the national bestselling Country Store Mysteries and now the Cozy Capers Book Group series set in a fictional village on Cape Cod. I've also had two short stories nominated for Agatha Awards and love dabbling in the short form a couple of times a year.

    I think my motto is Carpe Diem, which connects with live every moment to its fullest.

  4. I'm still trying to equate bête noir and banana cake! What seems to be the problem?

    Karen Maslowski here, lifetime resident of Southwestern Ohio, one of the prettiest places in the US, as I've found while traveling to 48 other states. So I have feet of clay with wanderlust.

    My husband and I will celebrate our 35th in a few weeks. He is a wildlife photographer, and among other things, I am his support services person. We have a farm in Kentucky where I grow vegetables, and forage as many of the wild blackberries and black raspberries as I can. My three daughters are all grown and doing well in their professions, and they invite me to visit often, which is a joy. Like Joan's kids, none of them live nearby, although my only grandson is the closest.

    Hmm, my motto? There are two: Everything counts. And Attitude is everything.

  5. It's so much fun to hear these! Keep them coming!

    Today I can add that I have learned the hard way that at some point, when there are already too many eggshells down the disposal and you add the discarded ends from three pounds of asparagus stalk, nothing good is going to happen. As you say, dear Karen, everything counts.

  6. This is fun! Now we know all. Sharks. Cupcakes. ...typing as I sit here in my robe and PJs. I do need to get some "actual" work done so maybe the key is changing clothes. Will try and report back.

  7. Jenn and Ingrid - so fun learning about you.

    Me? I've been married for twenty years and have two teenage kids (God help me). I work as a technical writer in the day job, but I much prefer making things up. I have a few unpublished novels, but last year was a good year for me in short fiction - three anthologies and one other. I've been reading crime fiction since childhood. My aunt introduced me to Nancy Drew and it started from there.

    My TBR pile? Let's not talk about it. Currently reading "Fish or Cut Bait," the third anthology from the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime.

  8. The truly vexing part of the banana cake situation? One of my sisters can make it with her eyes closed! Mine always turns out the thickness of a Saturday newspaper!

    Grace, are those 10,000 books paper books or electronic? Where do you keep them?

    I'm a little concerned that my motto sounds rather superficial! Another variation is "Value yourself so the world can, too." It's early on the West Coast!

  9. Ingrid, I just played Scattegories for the first time over the holidays with my family in Massachusetts. Loved it! Game on, Sister Red!

  10. Good morning and welcome, new Reds! I'm a longtime fan who looks forward to retiring from my day job (another technical writer; I work on Watson, which is pretty interesting) and picking back up on the novel that's been sitting in the drawer for a while. Proud husband, dad and grandpa. Avid reader whose faves include several Reds along with locals Katy Munger and Sarah Shaber, as well as Jasper Fforde and other genre-benders (should I mention BF Goodrich again? Nah). Also a great lover of banana cakes ;-) Live in Durham, NC; more of you should get here on your tours.

    Motto for this year: Show up. Do my best. Don't worry about results. Non carborundum illegitimi.

  11. I'm in southern Illinois - across the river from
    St.Louis, MO. I'm an avid reader. Love
    cozies and the hard-boiled murder/detective
    stories also. I'm a widow so I'm alone.
    (we had been married for 45 years, Bob has
    been gone for 13 years now).
    I like to do paper crafting (making greeting
    cards) and all kinds of crafts. I've never
    player scattergories - we usually played
    some sort of card game (love cribbage)
    Enjoy your books and reading about y'all.
    take care


  12. I am having the best time reading posts from our newest Reds. What great additions you both are!!!!!!

    Jenn - how did I not know you're a singer?! I follow you and your adorable family faithfully at Facebook and always find myself smiling at how cool it is that your 3 guys are all musicians, but I do not ever recall you mentioning that you sing! I love this. Hanging around your house would be a total delight.

    I think everyone on God's green earth knows every single thing there is to know about me, so I'm going to scoot straight to my motto. And it's one my mom taught me to live by, as she did.

    "Do no harm, but take no shit." (if that offends anyone, my apologies, but it's who I am - a kind woman with a potty mouth who refuses to be pushed around).

  13. Joan - 38 years - fantastic! Plus, a twin sister? Very interesting. My brother and I are Irish twins (11 mons apart) and yet my mom swears I wasn't a surprise. I don't like sharks but I do love the water. I've been in the desert for a long time but am really looking forward to moving back to the shore - when I've launched my hooligans.

    Grace - 10,000 mysteries! I think my husband who is a more avid reader than I am could give you a run for your money. True story - we had to rent a storage unit for all of his books. I will be at LCC and Bouchercon, too. Looking forward to seeing you!

    Edith - I remember doing a panel with you in Monterey! I love that your work is set in New England (home!). Looking forward to meeting up again.

    Karen - one of my hooligans would be in heaven with all those berries. He eats them by the bucketful. I love your mottos - they are perfect.

  14. Games intimidate me, so no Scattergories if I can help it.
    Married to my best friend 45 years this May.
    Two kids (KIDS? They're 26 and 28).
    Granddaughter of almost 5 months.
    I've been a voracious reader forever. When I'm reading the house could fall and I'm likely to not notice.
    Love to cook.

  15. Enjoyed reading your responses
    I am an avid reader and have hundreds of books. Much to the consternation of my family, they just don't get it. I love to read any k;ind of book on any subject
    I live in the deserts of Arizona where I can sit on my patio most months and read.
    I also suffer from fear of sharks and when I go to San Diego to visit my sister, I put my feet in the ocean. Any deeper and I shudder.
    I also suffer from a condition a lot of people have never heard of-CRYPTOPHRASIA -twin speak
    I have a twin sister who is also a big reader.
    I am a watercolor painter and I collect glass doorknobs. Some have come from old mining towns and have turned purple from being in the sun.

  16. Love your answers, dear new Reds.
    I love all kinds of family games. Taboo is one of our favorites.
    I don't mind sharks but spiders? Not so much.
    I've just finished reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. I don't know how I missed this before. So funny and perfect for blah depressing days after the holidays when it's raining in California.
    And cooking: I don't enjoy it but I like to eat well. What I'd really like is a cook like Mrs. Patmore and Daisy so I could sit down and someone would put food in front of me!

  17. I live in Aspen, Colorado where I am currently sitting in my pajamas, typing this comment and waiting for a snow storm to hit and wondering how crazy the grocery store will be. I am also greatly enjoying reading and learning about Jungle Red members and followers.

    I love to read, and could probably give Grace a run for the money with the number of books and ebooks I have. Book stores are some of my favorite places -- especially independents.

    The Silver Palette Cookbook has defeated me every time! I love scattergories, and this story may be a "you had to be there" one, but one time my sister had to come up with 'something in the room' that started with the letter "T." She used 'talking device.' When she explained that meant telephone, we all cracked up, because obviously telephone starts with a T as well. She has a wonderful way with words.

    I love to sing, but my voice is hit or miss. I used to be in a group that the "oldies" in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and that was incredibly fun -- especially visiting with the residents after the performance.

    I'm wondering -- Hank: do you ever sleep???

  18. CELIA! I just burst out laughing! PERFECT. Talking device! Like a program-viewing monitor. Oh. Television. :-) Love this.

    And sleep? Sigh. WIth much delight. xx

  19. Joye, that is fascinating. Cryptophrasia?? Tell us more!

  20. Ha! Former tech writer here! Waving to Mary and Jim.

  21. JIm--working on WATSON?? Love fascinating. Tell us more !

    I am currently in deep discussion with Alexa. We just played twenty questions, and she got it! I love, and terrified.

  22. Good morning!I'm Sheila and I live in Northern Illinois. I'm semi retired. I love gardening. Reading is my addiction! Especially durr the winter. Nothing better than curling up with a book and a cup of tea on a cold winters day!

  23. Like Hank and Hallie, I love to write in my pajamas--but I only get to do that when I'm staying in a flat in London. At home in Texas, the dogs always need to go out or the postman rings the doorbell, or something, so I am up and dressed first thing. Today I actually have on a little make-up--the postman may die of shock!

    I have two German shepherds and three cats. I'm a good cook, but not a baker. (Although when my daughter was little I went through a real hippy whole grain bread making phase...)

    I love England where my books are set, but I also love my Texas town, so am rooted in two places. I can't sing. I am trying to learn to draw and paint watercolors. I love my garden--as long as I have someone else to do the hard work.

    I've been married for twenty-three years to my high-school sweetheart (we were actually next door neighbors, if you can believe it.) In between was my Scottish ex, with whom I lived in Scotland and England, and with whom I have a lovely grown daughter. My only granddaughter was eleven months old yesterday and I am besotted with her. Fortunately, I get to see her almost every day. (Babysitting this afternoon!)

    Scattergories! Yes! Love board games but hubby does not.

    Motto? Thinking about it, but Carpe Diem is pretty high up there.

    Oh, TBR pile. Don't even want to think about it...

  24. So fun getting to know you better.

    Me? I'm an accountant by day but a fiction addict by night. Seriously, books, TV, movies, I'll take any or all of it. I do have a review blog where you can follow what I am reading and watching, so I really don't have any hidden secrets. I review them all.

    I'm not a fan of sharks either. And, while I read lots of culinary cozies, I haven't baked anything in years. The recipes always tempt me, but I lie down until the urge to back passes.

  25. Kaye - I adore you exactly as you are :) I love your fire and passion and humor. And next time we meet up I'll sing for you - well, after a drink or two - Hub says I do a decent Patsy Cline :)

    Hank - I love Emmylou!

    Mary - I am in the teenage years with you (Hold me!). I'm teaching Hooligan 1 to drive. He says he knows exactly when to break - when I start stomping on the floor on the passenger side. Ugh.

    Jim - I LOVE the mottos - especially the mock-Latin one. Yes! Never let "them" get you down. Also, Asheville, NC is on my list of places to visit with a side trip to Durham? Beautiful area.

  26. *brake Really, I meant brake not break, really.

  27. Oh, I'm sweatpants, not pajamas. VERY big difference. :-)
    But I DO comb my hair.

    Jenn, teaching someone to drive is impossible, let alone a teenaged boy. My drivers ed teacher would not let me drive on the highway, because he was too frightened. Actual exchange:
    Mr. G: Watch out for that car!
    HANK: WHat car?

  28. Jenn, bring your hooligans to Northern Kentucky in early July. We have about twenty acres of blackberries! There's no possible way I could pick them all.

  29. Jenn, we can hold each other. Or drink together. Both work.

    I'm teaching The Girl to drive. I don't do the floor-stomping thing, but I do clutch the door. "Stop it, Mom. You're making me insecure." Well, brake a little earlier!

    Between that and fighting The Boy over homework, I really need a glass of wine! LOL

  30. Hi I live in eastern Iowa and have lived here for 14 years prior to living here I was living in San Mateo, Ca which is 20 min south of SF. I have 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren that live there . I love to read and write reviews i am disabled with a nerve disease that carries severe pain that i have had over 30 years and just a few weeks ago it has attacked my liver so not sure what that will bring but we live day to day and pray pray pray.My husband got laid off 2 weeks ago which was something that happens almost every year so he is home and he loves to cook. Needless to say he has made so much that i am going out tonight with a friend i go with every Wed we do my errands and then to dinner then to her house to do crafts. I take her some of the food he makes and she just loves it. He goes back to work in April and i can';t wait !

  31. Edith, thanks for confirming that the "former" part is possible!

    Deb, you and I should get together. I love games and my wife doesn't. Do you play bridge?

    Singing: I am downright awful. I used to sing to the kids to help them get to sleep, and I think they nodded off in self-defense.

    Mount Tooby fell over when I added the two new Reds. Might take me a while to clean it up. Especially because I would have to put my book down to do it.

    Hank, I'm afraid I can't tell you the most interesting stuff about Watson, which is how it works under the covers and new upcoming stuff. ("It" is really "they": there are lots of pieces. I'm working on one of the great-grandchildren of the system that won Jeopardy.) Right now I think the most interesting applications are in the medical field, especially some cancer research with MD Anderson. People ask me whether the AIs will take over the world, and my response is that they would have to become self-conscious first, and be aware that they exist and that they want things. There is actually a possible path to this, since I'm sure we'll teach them to diagnose problems with themselves, but I think for the foreseeable future we'll be able to get the pod bay door open.

  32. Hello! My name is Julie and I live a stones throw (or so) from the Mississippi in South Western Wisconsin. I am also an "Irish Twin", but my brother is still in denial after 53 years.
    I am an avid reader who is forced to do other things besides reading. I have started listening to Audio books so I don't have to choose between work and reading.
    I have a discovered that I can listen to an audio book and read a paperback both in the same day. But only if they are a different type of mystery. For example, I can read a Jenn McKinlay cozy (Cupcake Bakery Myst is my FAVORITE), but then I have to listen to a more serious Peter Robinson or Deborah Crombie. Is that normal?
    My son is also an avid reader and he wrote his second NaNoWriMo story this past November. He said I should give it a try. I don't think I would be able to read, listen and write all at the same time.
    Jenn, Congrats and thanks for mentioning the "Jungle Red Writers" on your Facebook page. I am so glad to have found so many of my favorite writers all in once place!

  33. Doesn't Hank ask the best questions? and I love the answers from our new Reds, though I do not dress up as Ingrid suggests, nor sadly, do I have a performing voice. I can read music and carry a tune, but I'd have to be back-up so someone's back-up. Love both Patsy and Emmylou--2 faves. (And didn't I tell you yesterday that Jenn is cool?)

    Live in Key West and CT--both lovely places that feel like home! Reading: Just finished Barbara Ross's ICED UNDER (love this Maine series), Jenn's ASSAULT AND BERET is up next!

    And madly trying to finish the book I hope to deliver to agent by February. I need to do a lot of ignoring the facts to make all this real--and need your crossed fingers and toes too!

  34. Ann in Rochester, another nasty womanJanuary 4, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Love introductions and always learn more about people I thought I knew.

    I am a retired RN, Hospice, live in upstate NY with my partner of 20+ years, our two Pomapoos, Toby and Penny Lane, and Eliot, the Hellicat, who is a girl. Think George Eliot.

    My hobbies are reading, cooking, baking and bridge when I can find a game. The latter is a passion, but my partners are dying off, no kidding. Unlike everyone else here, I am not a writer. But if I were, it would be essays, non-fiction, because I don't have an ounce of imagination.

    Although I'm from the Midwest, I lived in Texas for many years, graduate of UT Arlington, then spent some time on the Navajo Reservation, Indian Health Service. From there I migrated first to Southern California and then to the Bay Area. 16 years ago this months we left San Francisco for Rochester. No regrets about any of my moving adventures.

    I have three grown children, Bill, Melinda and Christopher, and six lovely grandchildren ranging in age from almost 4 to 26. Melinda is going to the Women's March in DC this month, marvelous liberal commie pinko that she is. That apple didn't fall far from the maternal tree.

    Jungle Red with my morning coffee is a favorite pastime, and I thank all the Reds for keeping me sanely entertained during 2016, the annus horribius. Now that we've hit bottom, it can only improve.

  35. Jim - I'll be in NC next weekend, McIntyre's in Pittsboro and the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines. It's not Durham, but closer than Seattle!

    Kaye - I love your motto!

    Mary H. - The only card game I've played is Hearts, which my husband's family enjoys. Is cribbage complicated?

    Another great board game is Balderdash, which is all about making stuff up and fooling your competitors with your creativity. It's a great game for writers!

    Edith - When do you have time to read?!

  36. Ingrid: Approximately 4000 mysteries are paper books (hardcover, trade and mass market paperbacks). The books I have read are in my library room and the TBR paper books are in my bedroom's overflowing bookcase.
    The 6000 + ebooks are saved in my Amazon cloud account.

  37. ptclayton - Any chance your husband would like to bring his culinary skills to Seattle? I'm a very appreciative eater!

  38. I am glad to read thst others have equally large book collections.I was considered WEIRD by many for collecting mystery fixtion. I also have 100s of work-related books and cookbooks which also take up precious bookcase/wall space.

  39. Jim, I am unfortunately numbers impaired. I grew up with parents who were avid 42 players. Alas, I could never remember what was bid, or even what I had in my hand... I'll stick to Trivial Pursuit.

  40. It's so great to be learning about the new Reds and read comments from some new commenters. Of course, I am already devoted to the long-standing Reds and commenters. This blog is just one of the best places a reader can visit every day.

    Ingrid, you mentioned Scattergories. Have you or anyone else here played the game Heads-up on your smart phone? It seems to be quite popular, and our family played it over the holidays when other family came in who were familiar with it. It's like charades but a person holds the smart-phone to his forehead while someone else is acting out what the word is, and the person holding the phone must guess it in a certain amount of time. You can do teams, which I like.

    Jenn, your galeophobia is one to which I can relate. I do not swim in the ocean. Period. However, my daughter and her family (husband and two daughters) do. They love the ocean. Right now, daughter, her husband, and the seven-year-old granddaughter are spending a week in the Everglades on their boat. They go out to the ocean at times so that they can get in the water. So, I am sitting here worried about sharks and, in addition, alligators for them.

    Oh, I failed to say that I am in western Kentucky, Owensboro, on the Ohio River. I have lived on the Ohio River my whole life, first twenty-two years in the north-eastern part of Kentucky. I have two adult children, a daughter and a son, and two granddaughters whom I am completely gaga over. I am retired, read like crazy, and have a book blog. I love attending Bouchercon and all the fascinating author and reader friends I have made there. Kaye, "don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me." Hahaha!

    Singing. I'm not bad at it and have dreams of singing in a girl band, such as the one Alexandra Sokoloff has. I am one of those people who imagine breaking out in song and dance along a street or otherwise public spot. One of my favorite episodes of Grey's Anatomy is the singing one where Callie was in danger of dying and was singing as they worked on her, along with other doctors singing.

    And, now I have to run out to get a few items from the grocery, as we are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow, and we go crazy over a couple of inches here.

    Welcome again, Jenn and Ingrid! So happy you're here!

  41. Much fun reading about everyone here this morning--readers and writers alike! I found JRW trailing two of my favorite writers--Deborah Crombie and Julia Spencer-Fleming--and found a whole bunch more great writers to follow--it's been a never-ending pleasure 'meeting' new authors here and anticipating new books by the JRW's gang!

    I'm a semi-retired archaeologist (no fieldwork, just some gentle research) who lives in northern Ohio with my two youngest nephews--another set of Irish twins--as am I! Never heard that term before, but love it--my grandmother was an O'Bryan! ;-) Besides reading, I enjoy cooking and baking, gardening (just another way to dig in the dirt!), quilting, movies.

  42. Hello, all! My name is Chris and I am a retired librarian living in a small town south of Rochester NY. I spent my most of my career in New Jersey and Washington DC working for a large corporation. When I retired I moved back to the town I grew up in and I'm involved with public libraries, as a trustee of our town library and also of the regional library system that covers our county. If you want someone who can talk at length about the value of public libraries, I'm your girl.

    No kids or grandkids of my own, but my siblings have given me wonderful nieces and nephews (and the next generation) and I love living near them and my 90-year-old mother. Like so many here, reading is my passion as it has been since I was a child. My TBR mountain is in stacks and on bookshelves, on my Kindle and in audio on my iPhone -- mysteries, historical fiction and history, for the most part. I take comfort in the fact that I'll never catch up! I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling and agree with Rhys that he's a good read for the post-holiday gloom.

    I had serious fan-girl moments with Hank and Deb at my first Bouchercon in New Orleans and am registered for Toronto in October -- can't wait!

  43. I agree with Ingrid. When I get up in the morning, I make sure I am ready for the rest of the day. This means real clothing, actual shoes (or boots,) earrings in, hair brushed, and lipstick on.

    That way, I'm ready for anything between walking the dog to going out to dinner with my husband. And if only the dog sees m and if only the dog sees me, well, I still look good.

  44. Welcome again, Jenn and Ingrid. Great answers!

    I'm Marianne and live currently in central Maine. I'm grew up in Portland, lived in exile in Massachusetts for 20+ years, and then we retired back in Maine. I was a training manager for New England Tel/NYNEX and my husband of almost 43 years worked at MIT. I am currently attempting to retire from political work which is proving more difficult than I imagined.

    My TBR pile is much like all of yours. I'm working my way through the Preston/Child Pendergast series and all of the Irish police series - McKinty, French, Neville, etc. Just waiting for Debs' new one.

    My friend and I used to be a "duo" that played guitars and sang Irish songs. Last century! LOL

  45. Oh, my motto - No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Paraphrased from Eleanor Roosevelt, I think.

  46. Ingrid, I don't read as much as I'd like. But I'm going to have some enforced couch time in Feb (knee replacement) and I plan to read like a madwoman!

  47. ChrisR, Julie, ptclayton, Sheila, Mary--special special hellos! xoxox

  48. Hi all! I love all the intros. I live in Houston (where I started out) currently but figure we will move elsewhere again eventually. We've lived in west Texas, the Panhandle, Austin, NE Ohio, and Minnesota. I love to hear about places we used to live or hung out at, like Ohio and Kentucky. I like to sing but can't carry a tune in a bucket. No current motto. Except, oh what the hell. Do it anyway. I guess that counts. Ann, my cousin graduated from UT Arlington and then worked in the library there for years. My sainted drivers ed instructor, Leslie Ledoux, called my parents and told them I really needed to practice driving. So my nerves of steel father took up the challenge and had me drive him everywhere. It helped. I'm not fond of sharks either. We'd go to Galveston to the beach when I was a kid. We'd play in the surf, have a good ol' time, then go to the pier next to us to see what they were catching. Hammerhead sharks sometimes. It just didn't register that we were sharing the gulf with them. I retired from accounting and CPA work back in 2000 when we moved from Ohio to Minnesota. I've been a reader forever, starting with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Married since 1972 to Frank. We have a 39 year old son (ouch) and a 16 year old granddaughter we see twice a year, as she lives in Ohio with her mom. She is a hoot. Other than people my joys in life are reading and travel.

  49. I also have holes in my memory. I was listing my places of residence since I married and left out New Orleans. Go figure.

  50. Edith, best wishes on the new knee. I got one this year and am very glad that I did. Both my doctor and my physical terrorist were great.

    Jenn, thanks for your kind words.

    Ingrid, I will try to get to McIntyre's! I've seen other authors there and it's a great venue.

  51. PatD: oh what the hell. Do it anyway. Totally works! xoxo

  52. I can't sing now but I used to be able to. When I was ten years old at school I was chosen to be a Melody Maker and we gave a few performances: one at the mall (they had to turn off the fountain so people could hear us sing), before the school play, and then at the Board of Education where we got a standing ovation. I was hoping they'd have the group again the next year when I was in sixth grade but they didn't. My 15 minutes of fame. My voice must've gone bad a few years after that because I auditioned for choir in junior high but didn't make it. My singing's so bad now that I could torture prisoners for the C.I.A.! I have no idea what happened unless I was kidnapped by aliens and they took my singing voice (ha, ha!).

    I love Trivial Pursuit and live in Toledo, Ohio. Never lived anywhere else. I love game shows such as Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I've been doing some coloring in adult coloring books and just got one yesterday, Johanna's Christmas, that was half off at Walmart. I have four cats. Never been married so no kids or husband.

    Mostly I read cozy mysteries and historical ones but I also love the classics such as Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes.

  53. Michelle F--I'm with you! We could be a bad duet!

  54. Glad I found the Jungle Red Writers, very interesting getting to know them. I'm originally from Michigan, but I now live in Chicago. I love to read, especially cozy mysteries and chick-lit. I also enjoy baking and some times try out the recipes I find in some of the books I read.

  55. Welcome Ingrid and Jenn, I am enjoying the answers to the questions.
    I am from Seattle. I lived all over the United States, but settled in Tampa about 35 years ago. I worked as a children's librarian for most of my life, but left the profession due to an increasing hearing loss. I put myself through grad school by working for an airline. I was a mental health counselor until the hearing loss stopped both the airline work and counseling.

    I retired to the happy thought now I can read as much as I like. The dust bunnies under the bed prove that reading happens more than cleaning. For a motto? There is no such a thing as too much butter. or If you don't like cats, you don't like me.

  56. Hi, Dianne! Welcome! I'm originally from Chicago, but now I live in Boston!

    Coralee! SO happy to see you! ANd I agree about cats and butter. xoxoo

  57. I live to read. Thanks to the JRW authors, among many others, I'll never run out of material!

    I like to sing but I'm not great at it. In college I was a member of a women's chorus open to any female students who liked singing. A friend encouraged me to audition for a prestigious choral group. What a disaster! I was so scared that I lost my voice! And would you believe that I blocked this out of my mind for several decades?

    I play a mean game of Monopoly but haven't played in quite a few years. My younger niece and nephew have never played with me but used to tell me that they heard about my Monopoly ability from their mom. (Aunt Deb is normally so sweet-until she plays Monopoly.) I don't want to disillusion them.

    Like Libby, I can forget about the world around me when I'm reading. About fifteen years ago, I put some salmon in the broiler, went out to the living room (ten feet away?) and picked up a book. The smell of smoke reminded me that I was supposed to be cooking dinner. By the time the fire department arrived the small fire was out, and they mainly had to blow all the smoke out of my condo. My meal survived; I do love anything burned.

    Ingrid has been causing me to oversleep the last couple of days. I had not read any of her books but wanted to rectify that right away. So that I didn't need to wait to get to a bookstore I downloaded her first book to my Kindle. And stayed up way too late reading Monday and Tuesday. I have a feeling I won't be getting to bed early tonight, either. Ingrid, you have mastered suspense!

    Deb Romano

  58. Deb R. - Thank you, thank you! I'm so glad you're enjoying LOYALTY! I'm kind of sorry about keeping you up late, but kind of not, if I'm being honest. Happy readers make me very happy!

    I love the story about the salmon. Do you remember what book you were reading?

  59. Gee, I don't remember what I was reading. It must have been engrossing, though!

    Deb Romano

  60. How exciting to get to know new Reds! I've already read one book by Jenn--Better Late Than Never--and I'm looking forward to reading Ingrid as well. Jenn, I really loved your actor character, Robbie, because I have a background in theatre, and currently work with a world-renowned classical music ensemble, so the stage (at least the un-glamorous bits of it) is pretty much my life. Although I don't sing in public, I am known as "The Voice" because I've done some radio work, and serve as the offstage announcer at our concerts. People hear me, but they very rarely see me, so I can maintain a bit of mystery.

    I'm a widow who was married to a science fiction writer, and I've known Deb since the late 1980s, when her first book came out. I spent much of my career as a reporter/PR person/business writer until I got the chance to return to my backstage roots. In my spare time I bake, cook, quilt, garden, rescue border collies, and collect rejection letters on my six unsold novels.

    Lately I've been renovating an un-updated 1960 ranch-style house a few blocks from Deb's fabulous craftsman bungalow. I'm taking a whimsical approach to my doorknobs, but making a firm stand against Mamie Eisenhower-style pink everything: walls, carpet, even appliances. But never fear, vintage fans, I've been salvaging, selling, or reusing everything a mid-century fan might love. It's been a real adventure!

    As for my unread stack, it contains a little of many things. I like mysteries, romances, science fiction, fantasy, history, folklore, investigative journalism, art . . . pretty much any book with words in it. My current read is Julia Keller's "Last Ragged Breath," which I'm enjoying very much. As for my motto, I turn to Texas singer/songwriter/sage Joe Ely: When a man knows not his destination, any road he takes will get him there on time.

  61. I am loving reading all of these posts - how fascinating you all are. I admire those who get fully dressed for the day (I tend to wear workout clothes as I try to work in ridiculous bouts of fitness when the words get stuck-- yoga asanas or pushups, whatever works). And I'm really pleased to see I'm not the only one afraid of sharks. I love the ocean and my three men and I are all learning how to surf on weekend trips to San Diego, but if I see a fin -- I. AM. OUTTA. THERE. :)

  62. I read a lot , I love to read especially copies and suspense. I have four adult kids and one grandson and 8 granddaughters, one deceased. Another arriving soon! One little dog who thinks she's a human! Love your books, Jenni!

  63. I like in central NJ. I like to read, garden and cook.

  64. I live in the northeast corner of Ohio along the shore of Lake Erie. Our little town is somewhat rural but we are within an hour of Cleveland, OH or Erie, PA. We are owned by two spoiled cats and enjoy gardening in the summer, reading all year long and cooking new dishes. I'm fond of several of the REDS books.

  65. I'm late to the game, but would like to say 'hi" to Ingrid and Jess. I've been popping into Jungle Reds since before my first novel pubbed -- great inspiration -- and now I join in because I enjoy the community. Mysteries set in Ireland with the third one coming out this August.

    I live in Portland, OR, and Ingrid, i might have seen your writers7 gang at a Wordstock panel some years ago? (I think that was you-all ...)

    Happy New Year!