January 23, 2015

Ode to My Favorite Childhood Reads

I'm really not a short-story reader. Not a novella reader either. I don't even like really short novels. You won't find a book that's only 50,000 words long on my bookshelf unless someone has given it to me as a gift. Whether or not I'll actually read it is kind of a crapshoot, depending on my mood.

I don't know why I'm not a fan of the shorter story form. I'm well aware that it takes talent to write short and succinct. I'm not denigrating the short story or trying to say that people who like short books are wrong. Frankly, sometimes I wish I enjoyed shorter books. But whatever the reason, they're just not something I choose to read. 

The only exception to this "rule" of mine are children's books and stories. Among my favorite books of all time are the Childcraft books my parents bought when I was a kid. The set consisted of 15 volumes, and I loved them all, especially Volume 3, "Folk and Fairy Tales," which was filled with great stories that led me into a lifelong love of stories and the written word.

My favorite story of all from that book was called "Tom Tit Tot," a retelling of the classic Rumplestilskin. To this day, if open one of the books I can hear my mother's voice as she read the stories to me. 

A few years ago, a writer's group invited me to speak and presented me with a copy of "Tom Tit Tot" (an Essay on Savage Philosophy in Fairy Tale) by Edward Clodd published in 1898. The book contains the story and then explores variations and influences on the story. It's one of my more treasured possessions. 

But I digress ... 

I've read some of the Childcraft stories to my granddaughters and I love sharing these beloved stories from my childhood with them -- but even though I do my best, I have to admit I don't do the stories justice. Nobody can read these stories better than my mother did. 

For all those reasons, these books will always have a special place in my heart.

What are your favorite books and stories from childhood? 
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Jacklyn Brady is a national bestselling author. She 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 now! 

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

January 16, 2015

A Story to Make You Smile

photo by Jasper van der Meij
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of bad news. There's far too much of it out there to suit me. It's not that I want to hide my head in the sand and pretend that everything is sunshine and lollipops, but there's so much awful stuff, senseless junk and ridiculousness going on in the world sometimes I think I'm drowning in it. I'm feeling the need for something to lift my spirits.

Yesterday, my daughter told me about an article she saw on Facebook about a cat that saved the life of an abandoned baby in Russia. The story warned my heart, so I decided to share it with you in case you haven't seen it yet. You can see the whole thing here ... but in case you don't want to click through and see the story for yourself, let me sum up:

It seems that residents of an apartment building in Obninsk, Russia found a baby boy less than 12 weeks old inside a box that was meant for a cat that routinely hung out near the building. One of the residents heard what she thought was loud meowing and thought the cat might be in danger from a predator. She raced outside to save it and found the baby. The cat had curled up next to the baby to keep it warm.

This is a cat, but not the cat in the story
The baby was taken to the hospital, but the poor cat was clearly distressed. She followed responders to the ambulance and meowed in distress when they took the baby away. Apparently, she sat on the curb for a couple of hours, waiting for the baby to come back. Residents of the apartment building are now showering the cat with extra TLC and treating it like a hero -- which is only right.

So there you have it, your Friday Feel-Good. I hope it makes you smile.



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Jacklyn Brady is a national bestselling author. She 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 now! 

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

January 14, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Estelle Jergens, cake artist at Zydeco Cakes, blogs about New Year's Resolutions at Killer Characters.

How do you feel about resolutions? Do you love 'em or hate 'em?
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November 14, 2014

Sparkle on Killer Characters


If you have a few minutes to spare, Sparkle Starr is blogging today about Thanksgiving at Killer Characters. Come see what she has to say about life now that her nephew is here. (She's also sharing a recipe for Baked Brie that's easy and delicious!) 

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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


photo credit: Tracy Hunter via photopin cc

October 14, 2014

Talking 'bout Halloween



It's that time of year again! 

Miss Frankie is talking about Halloween on Killer Characters today. Stop by and check out what she has to say! 
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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

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? 

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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.


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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