Dying to Eat at the Pub
A Jim and Dotty Weathervane Cozy Mystery
by Beatrice Fishback
A funny thing happened after midnight. Jim was tossing and turning, so I went to the bedroom across the hall to sleep. As I lay there, I kept thinking that maybe the song I’d written for a chapter I’d penned that day wasn’t really an original from my brain, but the lyrics from a song from the Miss Potter movie. Was I plagiarizing without realizing it? I had to find out.
I grabbed my phone and was going to research the song on YouTube, but was afraid the light from it would brighten the room and also spill out into the hallway and into Jim’s bedroom. Both our doors were open. Too lazy to get up and close the door, I sat in the bed and tossed the covers over me like a tent and listened to “When You Taught Me How to Dance” from Miss Potter. With the volume turned super-low, I strained to hear the music.
Meanwhile, in the master bedroom, Jim thought he heard music and wondered where it was coming from. So, he got up and peeked out the blinds to the backyard. Nothing. Then, he figured maybe the neighbor was playing the radio and came to my room to look out my blinds.
He said he stopped in the doorway, saw a musical, glowing mound in the middle of my bed, and almost laughed.
“What are you doing?” Jim said.
I jumped out of my skin at the sound of his voice, let out a scream, and threw off the covers — then screamed again when his dark figure stood against the backdrop of white mini blinds.
The good news? I didn’t steal the lyrics after all.
Bethel Manor, an inspirational romance, takes place during the Victorian era with engaging characters such as the wealthy Fredrick Shaw and his feisty daughter, Clare. Enjoy the rugged countryside as James Winthrop Blackwell travels across England. Revel in the setting, Bethel Manor, a place of magnificence and style where servants know secrets and the owner is a man of propriety and integrity. James Winthrop comes of age and searches for answers after being abandoned as an infant at Alpheton House Orphanage. He must come to terms with the reasons for his abandonment and resolve how God can still use someone whose parents chose to cast them aside. Join James, Fredrick and Clare at Bethel Manor and discover for yourself how others can bring optimism and encouragement when life seems difficult and without hope. Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy Bethel Manor!
Beatrice Fishback, originally from New York, lived in the East Anglian area of Great Britain for over twenty years and traveled extensively in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. She is the author of Loving Your Military Man by FamilyLife Publishing and, with her husband Jim, is the co-author of Defending the Military Marriage and Defending the Military Family. She has been published in various compilations, magazines and online websites.
She and her husband have spoken to audiences in the USA, Germany, England, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Korea, and Japan. They have also presented to international audiences in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Latvia.
Beatrice and Jim currently reside in North Carolina where scones are called biscuits and are topped with gravy, and tea is served over ice.
What has been the most challenging thing about your new release, Bethel Manor?
This inspirational romance was written about the Victorian era, and although the Internet allows for easier access to information, I still had to double-check certain details to make sure I had the right information for that time period.
Where did you get the title for your book?
We lived in a home in England that was dubbed Bethel Manor by our pastor at the time. Bethel means “house of God,” and our small home had actually been a farmer’s cottage fifty-years prior to us owning it. Because it was so small, our pastor titled it a Manor—a bit tongue-in-cheek.
What is one thing about the book you’d hope to achieve by writing it?
My hope was that this story could be an alternative for people looking for a clean, wholesome romance with a faith-based backdrop.
I understand you have another book release in November. Is this the same genre?
No, I’m excited about the next upcoming book titled Dying to Eat at the Pub. This book is a contemporary, cozy mystery but is also set in Great Britain.
What’s a cozy mystery?
It’s a light-hearted murder-story-line with humor and gregarious characters. It’s intended to be a great read for a relaxing evening or a day at the beach.
When will we expect to see this next book?
Dying to Eat at the Pub will be released November 2016 by eLectio Publishers.
A PAST SHE CAN’T FORGET . . .
A FUTURE HE REFUSES TO ACCEPT . . .
Raven will do just about anything to forget a horrific event from the past that still haunts her. Forced to attend church because of a promise she made at a party, she is immediately attracted to the young, handsome preacher, but is unconvinced of his promises of a better life.
Matthew has everything planned out until Raven walks into his church and turns his life upside down. Repulsed by her lifestyle, yet fascinated by her beauty and charm, he finds himself drawn to her by a force he can’t explain.
Raven and Mathew’s unlikely friendship leads them through escalating troubled waters that threaten to doom their growing relationship. Will they survive to learn valuable lessons of grace, forgiveness and love?
Dana K. Ray has been writing gutsy, true to life stories since she became a teenager. A full-time children’s minister in her church, she and her husband reside in the Midwest with their four children and four dogs. A Second Chance is her first published novel. Absolution, the first in the Luciano series, is set to be released July 2017. Connect with her at danakray.com. Dana has been writing gutsy, true to life stories since she became a teenager. A full-time children’s minister in her church, she and her husband reside in the Midwest with their four children and four dogs. A Second Chance is her first published novel. Absolution, the first in the Luciano series, is set to be released July 2017. Connect with her at danakray.com.
Q & A with Dana K. Ray
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Always. I felt odd because I always had movies playing in my head. I was so concerned with it that in college I wrote a paper on “fantasy thoughts” because I wasn’t sure if it was normal. I was a stay-at-home mom which gave me the chance to write my books down. Now, I am a full-time children’s minister at my church, which I love, and a writer in the evenings and weekends.
What do the “movies in your head” look like?
Very vivid. I see the characters in color but the fun of it, is I can change things. I can watch a scene and if I don’t like it, I mix it up. I do this until I love the scene then I go write it down.
When did you first start putting your stories on paper?
I won my first poetry contest when I was in 5th grade, 1976. A very basic, five-line poem. (you can go to danakray.com to read it) I’m not a poetry writer so I find it funny that that’s what I wrote, entered and won first place. In college I’d write thoughts, short stories but when computers came out in 1994, I wrote the book, Absolution.
So A Second Chance wasn’t the first book you wrote?
No. A Second Chance was the second book I wrote but the first one to be published. Funny how that worked out. I’ve had a couple articles on the Internet published that I got paid for.
Were any of the characters based on real people or your own experiences?
All the characters are purely fictional. I did draw from my own experiences. I’ve been touched by one friend and two family members that have fought Leukemia. I’ve also experienced the effects of suicide four times in my life, from a close friend’s attempt to three friends/relatives that accomplished it. Although fiction, some of Raven’s feelings were therapeutic for me to write about. Suicide is never the answer and I’d plead with anyone thinking about it to please, please, please reach out for help. Your life is SO important and you are loved more than you can even imagine, even if you don’t feel like it.
Have you met people like Raven and Matthew?
Oh yes, and I have been Raven and Matthew. I’ve felt people were too judgmental of my past actions and I’ve been too judgment towards other people. That’s the awesomeness of our God. With repentance, He’s forgiving of everything. And as we grow closer to Him, we become more forgiving of other people.
Where can I buy A Second Chance or contact you?
I love to connect with my readers and aspiring authors. You can go to my website danakray.com, amazon.com or eLectiopublishing.com to purchase my book. If you buy from my website, I’d be happy to send you a signed copy. While at my website, you can signup on my email list so you can receive news, updates, blog posts and new releases. I’d also love to hear from you
Absolution is the first book in the Luciano series and comes out in July of 2017. It’s about two brothers, one woman, and one bullet. Absolution is a fast read with mystery, love, devotion, fun and you might find a murder or two.
For the next few months I will live in a world that is somewhere between reality and something else. My characters will keep me up at night with their problems (sigh... I have to solve them), they’ll make me laugh at their antics, and cry over their heartaches. No, I’m not schizophrenic. I’m just a writer. A totally absorbed writer. And I love it.
Now’s as good a time as any to sing praises for my husband Jim who, for the duration of the writing of this manuscript, will endure less-than-stellar meals, wonder when his favorite pants/tees/undies will make it through the wash and back into his closet/drawers, and put up with me occasionally calling him Hank, Edward, Dex, Corbin, or other fictional character’s name. I couldn’t have made it through the last three manuscripts without Jim’s loving support.
To all of you who came to visit my blog, thanks for coming along on this journey with me.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
The question seems to be a kick-starter for dialogue when meeting someone for the first time. The awkwardness of the moment melts when you have something, anything, to talk about.
Recently, at a social gathering, I was intrigued by a man who said he was a retired US Air Force fighter pilot. His Viet Nam era Top Gun stories (yes, really) had me and a small gathering of others riveted to his every word. By far, he’d had the most interesting career of anyone in the room. None of us had ever flown at supersonic speeds, and not a single person in the room had ever had a missile fired at them.
“So, what do you do for a living?” someone asked me later that evening.
I told them I was retired, left out the details of my career, and said, “And now I’m pursuing a career as a writer of romance novels.”
Amazingly enough, the person didn’t squeeze a social yawn out of her eyeballs and walk away. Instead, her eyes widened and she said, “Really? I’ve always wanted to write a book.”
I’m meeting more and more people with the same dream. We want to leave an indelible mark on the fabric of time. Something to say, I was here. Here are my thoughts. My hopes, my dreams, the things I think about.
If you’re one of those people who would tell me you’ve always wanted to write a book, here’s my advice: Write. That. Book. Get your thoughts down on paper or into the computer and save every jot and tittle. Worry about what you’re going to do with your masterpiece later.
Never give up on your dreams. Ever.
1. Natalie Hudson, the heroine of the Natalie books, is a spirited yet lovable girl with a stubborn streak. Did you model her after someone you knew in real life? Yourself, perhaps?
Natalie, as with all my characters, is a composite of several different people I’ve known. Yes, she has a few of my traits as well, maybe the rebel side.
2. You recently published Natalie’s Consequences, the third installment of your Faith and Family series. Can we expect to see a fourth book?
No, I think I wrapped Natalie’s and her friend’s lives completely in the last book, with both on their way to a rewarding life as Christian wives and mothers. I’m ready to move on to something new.
3. How heavily do you draw on real-life when you’re molding and shaping the characters and events in your books?
Very. I try to depict real-life situations in order for my readers to relate. However, the first book, Natalie’s Choices, in the series began in 1987 when there were not quite as many social issues for teens to contend with as there are today. Natalie’s Commitments continues through the college years in the early nineties.
4. Tell us a little about Rails of Freedom and how it relates to the Faith and Family series.
That one required a lot of research, but it has been my most enjoyable to write. My brother left home as a teen and became a hobo for a year. He told me a few stories about his experiences and spawned my idea to write the second novel. When I finished Rails of Freedom, God gave me the idea to write a book about teens and the relationship with their parents, using the mother and father characters in Rails of Freedom. I think possibly because I personally never had that type of family relationship, and subconsciously, I could have it through my characters.
When I told my first cousin, who is a pastor’s wife, she suggested I write a series for young adults in high school and college. I have two sons and no daughters, so God certainly has a sense of humor. But he placed the right people in my path to accomplish the goal, including my cherished critique partners, one of whom had four teenagers at the time. I chose to end the series with the third book being what is referred to now as the New Adult genre, since my characters are married with careers, families of their own, and some of the many problems life presents at that age.
5. Care to share a little something about your first novel, When Love Abounds?
My first book was hard for me to write because it’s a fictionalized account of my life story. But it was also liberating and rewarding. And had I not followed what I believe was God’s will for me, I might never have written the next four books at all.
6. At one time or another, and to different degrees, every author experiences writer’s block. You’ve written five novels. Can you share with us your secret weapon for enticing the muse back into your quill when she seems to have taken an extended vacation?
Great question because I’ve just experienced that exact condition. Because of my husband’s serious health issues last fall, I put writing on a back burner. I would advise to never do that because it’s hard to get back in the groove. I found myself without a desire to write the past few months. But I also discovered that if I will just sit down with my laptop and think about my characters for a few minutes, I start typing away. Soon, I’m enthused about where my story is going, and ideas of potential for making it exciting and interesting come to me.
7. What’s your particular writing style? Would you consider yourself a plotter or a pantster? That is, do you write an outline of the plot of your book, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I’m a 100% pantster! But I do jump ahead and write a later chapter or jot a note about a future scene if an idea comes to me. You know…capture the thought before I go to sleep and it disappears. I keep a note pad and pen on my nightstand.
8. So, Linda, what’s next?
I’m currently debating two ideas. The first is to publish a compilation of short stories I’ve written, which I’ve titled Truth & Southern-Fried Fiction. The second is to pen a new novel about a couple who buy a Blue Bird motorhome, set out to travel the United States for a year, and encounter a myriad of problems as well as enjoyable experiences. It’s actually my current work in progress. Eventually, I’ll complete both. I’m just not sure of the order.