A Few of my Favorite Books – Summer Read Along

My sister called the other day to tell me that the used bookstore in Rapid City, SD, has several of the Meg Mysteries by Holly Beth Walker. This caused an instant rush of adrenaline and spawned an hour-long phone call in which we discussed, researched, and discovered how many Meg Mysteries there were, how many I have, and how many we have read.

  
 This led to a discussion of other books from our childhood that we loved and would like to find again, which led to a search for one in particular. Cheryl not only persevered, but discovered the book originally had a different title, which—while artsy—was not particularly a good drawing card for the book, so it was changed.

Books from our childhood. They are so powerful.

I was asked on social media which book from my childhood I read and re-read. Instantly I thought of Trixie Belden. It wasn’t just one book though; it was a series. (You might see a pattern here.)

Yes, I was drawn to, and devoured, series that I could relate to, especially mysteries. However, as my sister and I bemoaned, I couldn’t completely relate to them. Why? Because, while the characters in these books seemed to find a mystery everywhere they went, we—tragically—never had One. Single. Mystery.

So, it is no surprise that I write children’s mystery series. Ones in which mysteries appear around every corner!

Cheryl and I used to make a weekly pilgrimage to our local library to get more books. Summer was crammed full with playing outside and reading inside. I don’t know which I liked better.

To celebrate the beginning of summer, starting June 21st  I am hosting a three week read-along on my Double Cousins Mysteries (Ages 7-13) Facebook Page. I have a private group there, Double Cousins Read-Along, where we will be reading the second Double Cousins book—The Mystery of the Torn Map. I will post educational videos exploring different elements of the story’s location and plot, vocabulary words and games, fun puzzles, prize drawings, and more!

Do you have a child in your life that might enjoy this unique opportunity? If so, please share this post with them and encourage them to click this link to be added to the Double Cousins Read Along Group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/596660531061891/

 

 

What was your “I can read this over and over” book when you were young? Share in the comments below!

“Now What?”

A few years ago a friend asked me a question. “When you finish the Double Cousins Series you aren’t going to be one of those authors that grieve the loss of your characters are you?”

“Probably,” I answered, without a pause. After all, these kids have been “part of my life” since 1999. That’s longer than some of my nieces and nephews. I had no clue when I created Max, Carly, and the rest of the cousins, that they would become so special to me. But they are.

So, that brings up another question. Now that the series is complete, will I just sit around feeling sad?

Or, am I going to remember the question Grandma Jones always asked me when I called after a rejection, or a delay. “Now what?”

Grandma and me with the book!

I think I’ll do that. So, what’s next? I’m so glad you asked! Here is a little bit of a sneak peek at some of the ideas in the queue.

  • First, I am writing a devotional to go with each of the Double Cousins books. These devotions will feature—you guessed it—Max, Carly, and the gang. They are intended to use alongside or independent of the books. I am quite excited about this project.
  • Next, I want to continue the Nearly Twins Mystery Series. This series is set in the South and the first book, The Nearly Twins and the Secret in the Mason Jar, was released in 2016. It is set in Saluda, NC. I have not decided, for sure, where the next mystery will be set but I am leaning toward either Elizabethton TN, or Linville/Crossnore NC.
  • Thirdly, I am planning a picture book telling a story about Grandpa Jones. This was my original dream when I started the writing life.
  • And finally, I have one more project that involves YOU! Last Spring, we presented the first Double Cousins Read Along on Facebook. In January, I will host another one. I’ve debated whether I should use the newest release, The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Sod Schoolhouse, or go with the second book and continue chronologically. After much thought, I’ve decided to stick with their order and do book two this time. So, in January, we will read The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Torn Map. I will release the dates soon, so stay tuned. If you don’t have this book, they are available online, through your local bookstore, or from me.

This week I worked hard to learn and successfully install a sign-up button on my website for both the blog and the newsletter. Go to MiriamJonesBradley.com and sign up!

I would love to hear from you in the comment section of the blog! Let me know which idea is your favorite and why.

A Moment to Bask in the Joy

A couple of weeks ago three boxes of the Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Sod Schoolhouse showed up on my porch. It was an exciting day, very exciting!

But, the excitement was tempered by the fact that I was still recovering from recent foot surgery. Now, however, my mind is kicking into gear and I’m ready to get excited about this. But, I’m a little befuddled.

After all, how on earth did I go from this: 

To this?

I’m not kidding. The realization that I’ve written an entire mystery series—“kind of like Trixie Belden Mysteries, only Christian”, my lifelong dream—has me experiencing a bit of disbelief.

One day, when I was fretting about the fact that I needed to get cracking on marketing for this book, a good friend said this: “Maybe you should just take a moment and bask in the realization that you wrote an entire series.”

Indeed.

So, this morning my husband moved the three boxes of books off of the piano bench and into the guest bedroom so we could take the above photo. And I basked a little as I stood there gazing at the books.

The first book was a dream, something I honestly never thought I would finish. After all, I had a lot of dreams which I never completed.

But God.

God wouldn’t let me give up on this one. He used nieces, nephews, grandparents, writer friends, cousins, and my husband to push me ahead. And miracle of miracles, I finished it and we published it, just in time for Grandma Jones to see it before she went to heaven in 2009.

Grandma and me with the book!

By then, I realized that I would have to write another book about Max and Carly. And another. And so it happened. But getting to my goal of seven? Not sure I really saw it happening. But, idea by idea, book by book, and word by word I kept going. And here I am eleven years later with a completed series.

The Double Cousins Mystery Series.

I’ve been reading a lot while recovering from surgery. I think I’ll pick up this series and read it from beginning to end. After all, it won’t hurt to bask a little more in what God helped me do.

 

The Double Cousins Mysteries are all available through the usual sources. To order directly from the author email me at miriamjonesbradley@gmail.com

So Much Green

So Much Green

I have poison ivy. Again.

I had it not three weeks ago, possibly caused by mowing the grass with culottes on. This time I was wearing a dress.

The first time, I initially thought it was mosquito bites behind my knee. But when the “bites” began spreading in a long ridgy line a voice in my head started talking, no, shouting. POISON IVY.  

When I told my husband he made a matter-of-fact statement.

You know the kind. Logical. Obvious. Really annoying if you aren’t the one making the statement.

“You’ll have to learn how to identify poison ivy.”

“But I tried,” I insisted.

And indeed I had.  One day I googled poison ivy and spent quite a bit of time reading about, and studying pictures of, poison ivy. When I finished I was confident I would be able to spot it. But, realistically, once in the great outdoors here in North Carolina there was a major obstacle and I was quick to let him know just what it was.

“There’s just so much green.” Everywhere you look. Green trees. Green grass. Green weeds. Green shrubs. Ditches full of green masses of unnamed green plants. And then there are the named ones. Like poison ivy.

He had to admit that the green seems to have exploded this year. The weeds on our property act like God has been showering them with steroid laced weed fertilizer, and we haven’t been able to keep up. We are doing good to keep the yard mowed.

So, I avoided mowing near areas where we have known growths of the bane of my existence, and Bruce sprayed as much of IT as he could find with week killer. But, yet, here I am with poison ivy again.

I guess I’ll have to go with the other obvious, logical, and possibly a wee bit annoying thing he said.

“You shouldn’t be mowing without long pants and sleeves.

 

 

 

“There’s just so much green.” Everywhere you look. Green trees. Green grass. Green weeds. Green shrubs. Ditches full of green masses of unnamed green plants. And then there are the named ones. Like poison ivy.