August 07, 2014

Thoughts on a Lazy Afternoon

As those of you on Facebook may know, I'm currently enjoying an extended stay in the San Antonio area with my youngest daughter and her family. What started out as a week-long stay for the Romance Writers of America annual conference (code for "amazing party with writer friends") turned into a two-week, three-week, and then month-long stay, all before I could drive from Florida to Texas. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Far from it! That's the beauty of doing what I do for a living--I can do it anywhere. Literally anywhere. 

I've written while sitting beside my daughter's hospital bed, while sitting with my grandmother during her last hours on earth, and while recuperating from my major surgery of my own. Those little rolling meal carts in the hospital are perfect for holding a laptop. 

One of my favorite things to do is sit by the beach with my AlphaSmart or a notebook and pen and hash out a new scene or two. I don't do it often enough. 

Of course, being around family occasionally cuts into my usual routine, but they're a supportive bunch so they work with me to create time for the actual writing of books. Between family dinners, reading to the grandkids, hopping from one appointment to another with my daughter, and a moderate amount of vegging, (and by "vegging" I mean editing scenes written or spending time on Facebook) I'm hard at work on The Cake of Monte Cristo, book #6 in the Piece of Cake mystery series. 

While vegging this afternoon, I'm watching John Adams with my daughter. It's one of my favorite series of all time, based on the book of the same name by David McCullough. It's a definite part of my keeper shelf and on my must-watch list. If you ask me, it's the perfect way to spend an afternoon. 

What's on your list? 


Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. Rebel Without a Cake, book #5 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available for pre-order now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

photo credit: Storm Crypt via photopin cc

April 19, 2014

The Haunting of Jacklyn Brady

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. It's a great time of year. Spring has sprung (at least, usually it has sprung by this time). The soil is thawing and, in some parts of the country, tulips and daffodils, crocus and hyacinths are in bloom or about to be. Easter lilies and other signs of the season are all around and kids are excited about the Easter Bunny's impending visit.

When I was young, Easter was a really big deal in my family. My sister and I always had a new Easter dress and usually a bonnet. For a while, when we were really young, we even wore beautiful white gloves to church on Sunday morning. Easter was never as magical to me as Christmas, but it was still a wonderful and beautiful time.

Until the year I turned to a life of crime.

I don't remember exactly how old I was -- old enough to know better, but still pretty little. I don't remember if my little brother was around by then. If he was, I was at least six. If he wasn't I was really little. The problem was that my neighbor, Mrs. Something-or-Other, introduced me to the joy of the Easter Peep and I fell in love. I loved the sugary crunch on the outside and the sweet soft gooey goodness on the inside. But for some reason, the Easter Bunny never, ever, ever brought Peeps for my Easter basket.

He (or she) brought all sorts of other goodies. I remember getting old-fashioned Easter eggs and jelly beans and even the occasional Easter chick for my basket, but never a Peep.

Being a smart child, I knew that Mrs. Something-or-Other next door had Peeps, so while she was gardening in her back yard, I let myself into her house and helped myself to the glorious yellow goodies she kept in a bowl just inside the front door.

My parents had raised me to be a good little girl, so the minute I swallowed those scrumptious goodies, my conscience went to work. I felt horrible. Okay, that's not true. I felt satisfied and very happy with the sticky goodness on my lips, but I was also suddenly very afraid. I didn't feel bad about sneaking in and stealing the Peeps, but I was terrified that somebody would figure out my crime and I'd get in trouble. My parents were good parents. I didn't fear some horrible punishment, but my fear of being "in trouble" was almost as huge as my love of Peeps. I didn't like it when they were unhappy with me.

For the most part I've been able to put my crime behind me, but it comes back to haunt me every year at Easter time. Even now, mumbledy-mumble years later, all it takes it one glimpse of a sunny yellow chicken Peep (the other varieties don't have quite the same effect) and my conscience rears up to pummel me with guilt.

Some things never change, though. Yes, I still feel that twinge of guilt, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a Peep or two. The only difference is that these days, I always come by them through legitimate means.

Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Easter lily photo credit: kaiyanwong223 via photopin cc
Easter chicks photo credit: certified su via photopin cc

December 24, 2013


Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

November 15, 2013

Filling the Well

Since moving to the Gulf Coast four years ago, I've missed a few things about "home." Even though I live less than five minutes from the beach and love the beauty of the Gulf and the white sand beaches. I still miss the mountains desperately. I also miss autumn. 

We have autumn here on the edge of the world, but it's not like the autumns I'm used to. Leaves don't change and fall to the ground here. Days aren't warm and nights aren't crisp and cool. We do experience a lessening of the humidity, for which I'm grateful, but the only other signs of fall where I live are the dragonflies and Monarch butterflies that pass through here on their annual migration south. 

Recently, I received an invitation from some writer friends to join them for a few days at a friend's house in the Smokey mountains. I haven't spent much time around other writers lately, and I haven't seen these dear friends in more than five years. Plus, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I just love a good road trip, so I jumped at the chance. 

It was an amazing week, and I don't use that term loosely. Not only did I get to see mountains and changing leaves again, but I got to spend time around people who "get" me. We spent hours talking about shared experiences, the publishing industry in general, family and pets. We did a little sight-seeing, a little outlet store shopping, and a lot of eating, most of which was accomplished without the usual daily grind of cooking and washing up. 

A few of us even went ziplining--and by us, I mean not me. Honestly, there's no feeling I hate more than being high up and going fast. I'm much happier with my feet on the ground, offering my services as purse-watcher and action shot grabber. 

I didn't work all week and only checked my e-mail occasionally, mostly to make sure my family wasn't in mid-crisis since my cell phone didn't have any service. I drove home through Atlanta, which gave me a chance to spend time with a dear friend and her family, and also with my nephew, his wife and their new baby. I came home with my soul fed and my spirit rested, ready to buckle down and get back to work. 

My little jaunt to refill the well was long past due, and it got me wondering about my readers. I'd like to know about your experiences. What's the last thing you did to refill your well?


Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

October 22, 2013

Hit the Road Jack…lyn

I love a road trip. It’s my preferred method of travel, no matter where I’m headed. Oh, I know airlines are quicker – usually – but there’s all the hassle of stuffing everything you need into one carry-on bag, paying to check bags if your stuff won’t fit, and . . . well, let's face it: the comfort factor leaves a lot to be desired. Besides, you can’t stop and visit interesting places along the way when you’re cruising at 30,000 feet. Trains are interesting but not very practical, and the bus? I've only been on one very short bus trip but it ranks pretty low on my list. 

Nope, give me a car and a few tanks of gas any day.

A few months ago my youngest daughter, her husband, and my grandchildren moved from Florida to Texas, and I’ve been missing them. Just before the end of September, (or as a friend of mine calls it, the month of cake, cake, cake and pie) I was missing them more than usual. Four of my family’s birthdays are squished into September, and I was about to miss two of them. It wasn’t right.

After a whirlwind of spontaneous preparations, I loaded a car with clothes and shoes, a manuscript in revisions, my computer, a couple of audio books to keep me awake, and a whole slew of gifts for the birthday girls from friends and family who were missing them almost as much as I was. I planned to stay a week, but plans have a way of getting changed, and this trip was no exception. 

Photo0107But I’m getting ahead of myself. The really great thing was that since my route took me right past New Orleans, and since I was passing by right around lunchtime, I decided a small detour was in order. Unfortunately, it was raining hard that day so all of my pictures were kind of watery.

While in Texas I attended my daughter’s new church, celebrated her birthday with our traditional cake and ice cream for breakfast, tried to have dinner at her favorite restaurant (a failed attempt since the restaurant is closed on Mondays), had birthday doughnuts for the IMG_6641princess’s birthday the following day, did the cupcake-at-school thing that afternoon, and then rushed home to pack because plans had changed. Instead of staying in San Antonio for a week, we were hitting the road early the next morning so we could sneak back to Florida and surprise my other daughter for her birthday—which, I’m happy to report, was a grand success.
While Daughter #2 was reconnecting with the friends she’d been missing since the move, the grandkids had lots of fun being back in familiar territory. We hit all their favorite spots, which include McDonald’s and the local library. They also got in a little beach time, a necessary part of any visit for my beach babies.

IMG_6691And then it was back to Texas with another stop in New Orleans, this one not in the middle of a rain storm. We lunched on po-boys in the French Quarter and stopped for coffee and beignets at CafĂ© Dumond. For a short tour, check out Rita’s blog post from earlier this month at Killer Characters. (You can find a character from the Piece of Cake mystery series there on the 14th of each month, so come on by!)

IMG_6781I spent a great week in San Antonio after we got back and even got to spend a couple of days with my son-in-law who had been out of the country when I arrived. We even finally got that belated birthday dinner for my daughter at Jerusalem Grill (which was fabulous, by the way.) My son-in-law has a few other places picked out for my next visit, and I can’t wait!

In the end, I flew back to Florida and shipped all the stuff I couldn’t fit into my carry-on. Even though the guy who sat next to me on my second leg of the journey seemed to think that all the shoulder space on our row belonged to him, I didn’t even mind the flight. I had such a great time on my unexpected and barely-planned vacation, it was a small price to pay.

The Cakes of WrathJacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero.

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now!

September 14, 2013

Random Thoughts on a Saturday

Rita Lucero is blogging today on Killer Characters (where your favorite cozy characters do the talking.) Rita's sharing a few thoughts about organizing your kitchen and pantry. Stop by and say hello, and check out what she has to say about Cooks, Nooks and Crannies!

Also, just a quick note to let those of you who've been asking, The Cakes of Wrath was released on September 3. It's available to purchase in your favorite brick & mortar book stores and online outlets.

The weather is moderating a bit here along the Gulf Coast, but the random and unexplained power outages continue. We've lost power twice already this morning. Luckily, today's outages (so far) have lasted only a few minutes, as opposed to those that have dragged on for hours at a time, but can I just tell you how tired I am of resetting the clocks? 

I understood the problem when we were having severe thunderstorms every day all summer long. I understood it when we were under continuous flash flood warnings. But the weather has cleared after three long months of rain and the temperatures have dropped at least 15 degrees, but the power is still going out every day. 

So my question of the day is this: Has anyone else been experiencing weird and unexplained (and sometimes very lengthy) power outages?  

August 19, 2013

Five Good Minutes

Oooh! So there I was, working on revisions for Rebel Without a Cake and wondering what I should blog about today when I heard a knock on the front door. It took me a minute to get out from under the hard copy of my manuscript, the lap desk, my phone, and all the other junk that somehow always manages to end up on my lap while I'm working. By the time I reached the door and shooed the dog away from the doorknob, I heard the tell-tale sound of a UPS truck driving away and I knew I was in for something great.

Sure enough, there on my porch, was a small package from my editor containing my very first copy of The Cakes of Wrath hot off the presses.

For those who write, you know what a thrill it is to hold a book in your hands for the first time. For those who read, let me just tell you that it never, ever gets old. No, I don't experience the same mind-altering feeling of unbelief mixed with pure joy that I felt with my very first book, but it's still a rush. It's a little like Christmas morning.

I always hold the book and look at the cover closely and yes, I still feel giddy when I notice things like "National Bestselling Series" on the cover. I run my hands over it and savor the feel of the book, and then I walk over to the bookcase and put the book in its place on the shelf. It is, for me, a moment of pure joy.

Life can be tough. Moments of pure joy can be few and far between. Sometimes, all you can ask for is five good minutes in the course of a really harrowing few months. That's okay, though. Even the toughest times will end. The season will pass. And in the meantime, there's that five good minutes to get you through.

In my life there are a few things that are guaranteed to give me that moment, no matter what else is going on in my life. Holding that first copy of a book is one. Having lunch with my two daughters is another. And taking my granddaughters to the library is yet another. Even with the arguing, (But I want "Hercules" this time!) whining (But Ooma, she got Hercules last time) and bargaining (Why can't we get two books each? We promise we won't lose one this time!!) spending time with those girls and watching them fall in love with books will always bring a moment of happiness. It never fails.

What about you? What things in your life are guaranteed to make deliver five good minutes, no matter what else is going on at the time?