Wednesday, July 6, 2011

5 Easy Questions with Elizabeth Spann Craig!

Every Wednesday, I ask a writer the same five easy questions. In an effort to support and promote fellow wordsmiths, I feature authors who write a variety of genres, from sweet inspirational to mainstream thrillers. The writers themselves may be aspiring, published, or best-selling--all have made an impact on my life.

Thank you for joining me in welcoming… Elizabeth Spann Craig!

I connected with Elizabeth through Twitter, and I urge any writer to follow her. Her fabulous blog, Mystery Writing is Murder, features clever, personal posts on writing and mind-blowing Twitter mash-ups full of blog links. Each installment is like a mini-conference! Elizabeth also founded the Writer's Knowledge Base--The Search Engine for Writers, which is continuously updated and a treasure box for writers. And, hooray, her new book (under the pseudonym Riley Adams) Finger Lickin' Dead is now available!

Let's get to it!

1. Beverage of choice?

In the morning, it's a dark coffee with a couple of heaping teaspoons of sugar.  By afternoon, I'm gulping down ice water as I do aerobic housework (afternoons are for vacuuming and scrubbing) and write in my head.  I'll have a glass of wine with my husband over supper (red, white, rose, any year, any vineyard.) :)

2. Any pets? 

I have a somewhat overweight corgi, Chloe, who listens intently to everything I say, hoping to hear the words 'play,' 'ball, 'kibbles,' or 'leash.'  I have a decidedly overweight cat, Mr. Shadow, who sometimes eats bits of my manuscript--usually character trait lists.  And I have a cat, Mr. Smoke, with a fondness for padding across computer keyboards (or, as he thinks of it, helping me write.)

3. Dream vacation?

I'd love to visit any crumbling village in Europe.  Sometimes I'd like to see something that's seriously old.

4. What are you listening to right now?

I listen mainly to 70s rock music when I'm not writing.  When I write, I listen to lyric-free jazz or new age.  And I listen to a lot of Radio Disney because of my 9 year old daughter.  If we're in the car, Radio Disney is on.  And I don't recognize any of the songs, because they all seem to blend together! 

5. What's for dinner?

It's hot as the hinges here, so I'm planning not to turn on the oven.  I'm thinking we'll have a tomato sandwich with a tomato from our garden, and some fruit since the berries at the store are so delicious right now.  And a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert.  With chocolate syrup on top.  And maybe some sprinkles.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for being my guest today! A cat who "helps you write," a desire to see something seriously old, and double chocolate ice cream sundaes? (Let's not forget the wine!) Yes, I knew I liked you for a reason. I also enjoyed your description of aerobic housework. Kind of takes the guilt out of not formally exercising. You should really patent it and sell a DVD. "Ladies, grab your vacuum and back, forth, back, forth..."

Huge congrats on the latest in the Memphis Barbeque series!

Finger Lickin' Dead ~

When an anonymous food critic blasts several local restaurants—including Aunt Pat’s—Lulu Taylor and her customers are biting mad, especially when they learn that Eppie Currian is the pen name of their friend Evelyn’s cheating boyfriend. When “Eppie” gets his own fatal review, the list of suspects is longer than the list of specials at the best BBQ place in Memphis.

Elizabeth’s latest book, Finger Lickin’ Dead , released June 7th.  Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink.

To learn more about Elizabeth, check out her blog, Mystery Writing Is Murder, and follow her on Twitter. Also, be sure to bookmark the Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers.

What about you? Is it "hot as hinges" where you're at? Are you avoiding the oven too?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. Great interview! And thanks to Elizabeth for all her hard work with collecting awesome links! :)

  2. Nice to meet you Elizabeth. Already following your blog ;-). That tomato sandwich sounds like a solid plan for lunch. Another great interview Jill!

  3. Jill, thanks so much for hosting me today! Hmm...a workout video with vacuums and writing! (That would be the *only* kind of working out that I do! Ha!)

    Laura--Thanks for providing some of them. :)

    P.W. Creighton--Doesn't it? There's one in the garden that I think will *just* be ripe enough by lunchtime. And thanks for the follow...I'm following your blog, too. :)

  4. Jill - Thanks for hosting Elizabeth!

    Elizabeth - Ah... you and me, both. Black coffee in the morning. Now I admit that I don't put sugar in my coffee, but I couldn't do anything without my morning "java jump." It's the only thing I'm really addicted to...

    And it's good to know you like 70's music as well as you do. I love some of the good stuff that came out during that era.

    And those sandwiches sound perfect for the weather; what a good idea!

  5. Love the personality in this post! Heading to Amazon to check out Elizabeth's books.

  6. Margot--Coffee is a MUST~! Sometimes I'll cut back to 1 cup (right now I'm at a hearty 2+ cups), but I *have* to have coffee in the morning.

    Lisa--Thanks so much for checking them out! :)

  7. Good morning!

    Laura: I know! Whenever I read through one of Elizabeth's posts with blog links from Twitter, I become like a toddler in an amusement park. "Must read this one. No, wait, this one!"

    P.W.: Yes, the sandwich sounds really, really good. Got to love summer!

    Elizabeth: Thank you so much for being my guest today! And I have an entire infomercial plotted in my head for your new housework aerobics DVD. Call me... :)

    Oh, and you have ripe tomatoes? We're just getting flowers on our plants. Another month and I'll be picking them from the garden. Can't wait!

    Margot: You take yours black? You'd love Jody Hedlund. She takes hers strong, dark and unsweetened. I don't meet very many people who ignore sweetner and cream!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Lisa: Don't her answers make you smile? Love it!

    Elizabeth: Cutting back on coffee is not allowed here. Sorry. Go have another cup. You too, Margot. :)

  9. Coffee, water, and wine? Sounds like my perfect day! My husband and I just stocked up from our favorite winery, and I'm excited to try some of the new kinds we haven't had before.

    I am sorry to say that I hadn't heard of Elizabeth or her books before - but now I'll be definitely checking out her blog, and looking for her books. I love a good mystery. Thanks for a great interview, Jill!

  10. Elizabeth, We listen to a ton of Radio Disney too. My kids love Lemonade Mouth.

    I dump sugar in my tea as well and fresh tomatoes! Yum!!!

    Cool to see you here!
    ~ Wendy

  11. Jill - thanks for hosting Elizabeth - she rocks! Elizabeth - hot as hinges!? Love it. It isn't hot as hinges here out in the still somewhat foggy east coast but when I get to town and can't open my window cuz of the construction happening both sides - it'll be hot as the hinges of hell. how's that!

  12. Jill--Coffees and infomercials! I love the way you think!

    Elouise--I love discovering new wines! I'll try anything once. :)

    Thanks for checking out the books, Elouise! :)

    Wendy--Lemonade Mouth? I'm sure I've heard them...many, many times. I never can remember what my daughter is listening to!

    Wendy, it sure sounds like sweet tea to me! As a Southerner, I approve. :)

    Jan--Ha! That's the elongated version of the phrase! Too funny. And I'm guessing you're getting lots of construction dust? That's always the worst!

  13. Its good to know you a little better. Been might hot here too but its finally starting to cool off.

    My kids love radio Disney. At least that awful boy band crap is no longer popular.

  14. Stephen--Maybe we'll start cooling off here, too! Maybe. And I know what you mean about the boy bands. But I have a feeling we *might* be listening to them on Radio Disney. Their voices are high-pitched enough so we might *think* we're listening to girls, but...

  15. Nice Q&A, ladies! But Elizabeth, I thought you ate Memphis BBQ for every meal now (it's not bad cold, you know!).

  16. Your beverages match mine...almost. No sugar in the coffee, and I often choose beer over wine. But either will do :)

    Love these interviews, Jill!

  17. Aren't ALL Corgis overweight? I thought that was a rule... love your pets and i also REALLY dig old stuff. It's so wonderful to see history so tangibly like that... walking through. I much prefer old to grand.

  18. Elizabeth, love your book titles and the humor/mystery aspect that you combine!(I want to run out for some good barbecue--and a great book. ;) ) It's wonderful to learn more about you!

    Jill, the Ozarks (at least in my neck of the woods) have been running mid to high 90's with 70% humidity thrown in for good measure.

  19. Nice interview, ladies.

    Will visit your blog today, Elizabeth. Great to meet you.

  20. Hi Jill and Elizabeth .. what a fun read .. we're just old over here Elizabeth - you'll find a crumbly something anywhere you feel like pitching up!! Welcome to the other side of the pond ...

    You mention aerobic housework .. and I immediately think of Freddie Mercury doing the hoovering ....??

    Loved this - fun post .. cheers Hilary

  21. That phrase about needing to see something seriously old...sigh...that one resonated with me.

    I so know that feeling.


  22. ELouise: Ooo, winery! I have a dream of heading to the Napa valley for a long week of wine and relaxation. Enjoy your new bottles!

    Wendy: I believe I watched a made-for-tv movie Lemonade Mouth w/my son a few weeks back. It had Zeke or Luther in it--cute!

    Jan: I love the east coast! We're surrounded by construction too. It gets old. My dog freaks out daily. Good times. ;)

    Stephen: I'm so with you on the boy bands! Except didn't I hear New Kids on the Block are touring again? Never really goes away!

    Elizabeth: LOL!! We *might* be listening to boys...:)

    Alan: Uggh, you're making me hungry! BBQ is so good.

    Carol: In an effort to watch calories, I tried 55 Select beer and loved it! Do you like dark or light?

    Hart: If all corgi's aren't overweight, they should be. They are one cute dog!

    Cynthia: Ouch! Nineties and humidity?? Please tell me you have air conditioning!

    Loree: Thanks!

    Hilary: Mmm...I would love to hop over the pond for crumbly old history. I've been known to rent DVD's of British gardens. They're so beautiful!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  23. Erica: Me too... I guess Lake Michigan will have to do for me!

  24. Hey, Elizabeth :-) Nice to meet you! Coffee is the Cadillac of beverages. Wine, the Lamborghini, lol.

    There are plenty of untold stories in seriously old places. It's fun to discover them.

    It's our 40th day of 100+degree weather here. The oven only comes on at night.

  25. I loved these questions - and Elizabeth's answers. I'd never heard 'hot as the hinges' as an expression before. Love it!

  26. Alan--I think I *should* have Memphis BBQ for breakfast! Breakfast of champions! :)

    Carol--I probably prefer beer (dark beer) to wine, myself. But I try to be more refined (not working so well, though!)

    Hart--I think all corgis WANT to be overweight! They're like tummies with feet. :)

    Cynthia--High 90s and humid in the Ozarks! Wow. This weather must have spread everywhere! Hope you'll enjoy your barbeque. :)

    Loree--So nice to meet you, too! And thanks.

    Hilary --Yes! That would be heaven for me. :)

    I might possibly bring some Freddie Mercury out while I'm vacuuming (Hoovering! Much better verb.:) )

    Erica--Even our ghosts here in the States aren't old! :) We could go to Rome and see some old Roman soldier ghosts...

    Brandi--The sad thing is that I don't think we get to see enough really, really old places here in the States. Old for me is a trip to Williamsburg or Charleston, etc. Would be fun to sit at a cafe table in a crumbly European village and take notes!

    Elspeth--Maybe it's a Southern expression? Jan nailed it--it's short for "hot as the hinges of Hell." :)

  27. I can attest to the fact that it is hotter than hell in Elizabeth's state right now! Give me frozen fruite bars or smoothies. I just might roll in them as well.

  28. Alex--Yes! I'm thinking you and I should invest in an ice cream truck. We'd probably make a fortune. :)

  29. We have had it hot here. Today doesn't seem so bad.

    I have popsicles in my frezer. I avoid the oven as much as possible. Our kitchen isn't ever cool.

  30. That title is adorable! Thanks for the interview. Not sure I've heard of plain tomato sandwiches before.

  31. Love learning more about you, Elizabeth. We are alike in many ways. MY Chloe, however, was a huge maine coon cat who was incredibly mischievous.

    Thanks, Jill, for hosting.

  32. Nice to see you here, Elizabeth, and get to know you better! And let me just say I LOVE the title of your book. Finger Lickin' Dead...Now that's a stroke of genius. :)

  33. Brandi: Love your definitions of beer and wine! Ha! And stay in the air-conditioning, woman! That's waaaay too hot. :)

    Elspeth: I'd never heard the expression either, but I love it. I may say it and shock my mid-western friends! :)

    Alex: Fruit smoothies and popsicles coming right up! It's humid and 90 here. We got ice-cream earlier. It's a survival thing!

    Quiet Spirit: Have a grape popsicle for me!

    Jessica: Isn't that title great? If plain includes mayonaise, than I will take a plain tomato sandwich. :)

    Teresa: Oh, Maine Coon cats--oops, I just passed out at the cuteness of that thought. I love big fluffy cats, and MC's are so spunky and fun!

    Sarah: It IS a stroke of genius!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  34. quietspirit--Popsicles are standing by! I'm sure we're only getting started...still early July!

    Jessica--Thanks! Tomato sandwiches are really only tasty this time of year when the tomatoes are fresh.

    Teresa--My cats are part Maine-Coon! They're huge and have the tufts on their ears and feet. :) But they were strays and there is some other mix in there, too.

    Sarah--Thanks so much! I like it, too. :) Wish I could take credit for it, but the copywriters at Penguin came up with it.

  35. Mr. Smoke needs to meet Rocko & Spunky. I'm sure we could knit an army of cats from their fur alone.

  36. Hot or not, I always avoid the oven.

    Really liked reading more about your animals, music and your life. Is that a new picture, Elizabeth? I love it.

  37. Diane--*Love* the name of your cats! Ha! Yes, I think we could make a wonderful blanket from all the kitty fur. :)

    Helen--Good idea! Words to live by. And...thanks! Yes, my 9 year old took it. :) The portrait people fussed at me too much last year (my deer-in-the-headlights-look), so I decided to keep the portrait operation at home this year.

  38. LOVE the name of her newest book. Sounds like a lot of fun and I love a good mystery! :O)

  39. I always refer to it as "hot as the hinges of hades", and yes it is. The daily thunderstorm is just rolling through now.

    I have Elizabeth's newest release on my Kindle, just waiting it's turn.

  40. Diane--Thanks! So do I. :)

    Lu/Grace--We've been in that daily t-storm pattern, too--looking ominous right now, actually. And--thanks so much! I hope you'll enjoy the read. :)

  41. L.Diane: Aww, your kitties sound cute! I had the sweetest Himalayan who could have contributed much hair too. I miss her!

    Helen: Ha! I like your oven philosophy!

    Lu/Grace: Beach read! Yay! And can you believe I'd never heard the term??

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  42. I love Elizabeth's blog title! Thanks for a great interview.

    I'm not using my oven a lot, as we're in the midst of a tremendous drought here in the southwest. It is hot and very, very dry.

  43. Rosslyn: I hear you. It's been hot and muggy here. But I'm not complaining! After 6 months of winter, I'll take hot and muggy any day!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  44. Rosslyn--Hope things improve for you soon!

  45. Deirdra: Thank you very much! What a compliment!

  46. I've been avoiding the oven here, too, although my guess is that we haven't been *quite* as hot here as where you live, Elizabeth. Of course, the down side to that is that we don't yet have ripe tomatoes in the made my mouth water thinking about them! One of my fave summertime pleasures....


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