China Bayles
  Susan Wittig Albert & Bill Albert
Mystery Partners MysteryPartners e-Letter  
May 2007  

In This Issue

  • Book Report
  • Out and About
  • Lifescapes & the Pecan Springs Journal
  • All About Thyme: A Weekly Calendar of Times & Seasonings
  • Herb Snips

    Book Report

    If you've ordered a signed copy of Spanish Dagger, it's probably gone into the mail this week. But since we know that some of you can't wait to get your hands on the book to read the first chapter, we've posted it online. "It's possible to solve a mystery and still not know all the answers," China says. Read it to find out what's going on with Ruby's mother, what's happening at the herb shop, and why China isn't looking forward to spending the evening with one of her relatives. And then read the book to learn why it's so hard to discover all the answers.

    Good news for you Cottage Tale fans! The Tale of Hawthorn House (Book Four in the series) will be published in September. For a brief synopsis of the book, check out Susan's Amazon blog

    And more good news. What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest is now available! This is the nature anthology that Susan has been working on for several years, recently published to strong reviews. To read her introduction to the book, click on "Editor's Note." You can order the book here. And if you're interested in writing about place and landscape, you'll want to check out this important conference: "A Land Full of Stories," June 8-9, Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.

    Oh, and one thing more! The Story Circle Network has just published a collection of Susan's weekly writing prompts, originally created for SCN's Internet Chapter and designed for women with stories to tell. The collection, a year's worth of thought-provoking prompts based on women's wise words, is called Starting Points. It is available for ordering here, either as a download or in book form. If you purchase it in book form, Susan will be glad to sign and personalize it.


    Out and About

    Susan hasn't unpacked her bags just yet. This coming week (May 3 and 4), you'll find her in the Washington D.C. area in joint appearances with Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature. Their topic: "Two Authors in Search of Beatrix Potter." If you plan to attend the Malice Domestic conference, look for her there, too. And back in Austin, Texas, she'll be at Borders at The Domain on May 9. Details here.


    Lifescapes & the Pecan Springs Journal

    Have you ever wondered what authors really do on those book tours? It's not all lavender tea and scones, you know. For the inside scoop, read Susan's book tour blog at Lifescapes. Meanwhile, China and Ruby are taking a vacation from their blog (there's no telling what the mice will get up to while the cat's away). But there are some interesting archives at The Pecan Springs Journal. (Did you read the one about chili coyote?)


    All About Thyme: A Weekly Calendar of Times & Seasonings

    If you enjoy herbs, you'll enjoy our weekly herbal e-letter. Every issue will tell you something you don't know (guaranteed!) about herbs, herbalists, gardening, cooking, and the changing seasons. The freshest and most original way to get your daily dose of herbal fun!


    Herb Snips: Herbs with a View

    Herbs are a natural for a window ledge. With a window box to frame your view, all you have to do is reach out and pinch a bit of basil or nip a few nasturtium blossoms to add color and flavor for your salad. The view from the other side is almost as nice, for herbs and herbal flowers give your house a look of comfortable friendliness. If you start your boxes with sturdy transplants, they'll be lush and full in no time. Here are some fruitful combinations to inspire you:
    • A Salad Box: dill, parsley, cilantro, arugula, chives, with nasturtiums and carnations
    • A Souper Box: sage, thyme, basil, marjoram, bay laurel, oregano, with calendula and a dwarf chile pepper plant for a touch of color
    • A Box of Sweets: lavender, scented geraniums (lemon, rose, peppermint), strawberry plants, licorice plant, with johnny-jump-ups and miniature roses
    • A Bloomin' Butterfly Box: lemon thyme, common thyme, marjoram, sedum ('Ruby Glow' is lovely), dwarf
    • Mexican bush sage, marigold, oxe-eye daisy, bee balm, verbena, sweet william.
    • A Medicine Box: sage, thyme, catnip, feverfew, lavender, mint, garlic, horehound, with passionflower, calendula.

    Read more herb snips.


    Spanish Dagger
    Spanish Dagger
    "One of her best mysteries." —Kirkus

    "A leisurely cozy with a Southwestern flair." —Publishers Weekly

    Click to read the first chapter (pdf).

    Starting Points
    Starting Points
    A collection that will spark the creative spirit in all of us.
    Join Susan for ten short takes on herbs!

    Listen to Susan's series of ten podcasts, "All About Thyme"

    Take a Trip to the Lake District

    The Tale of Holly How

    For a delightful change of pace, listen to The Tale of Holly How, Beatrix Potter's second adventure in the magical Land Between the Lakes. For details, and to see all eight available books (six in the China Bayles series and two Cottage Tales), click here. And please be sure to tell your local library that the Cottage Tales are available in audio!

    We appreciate your help in spreading the word about MysteryPartners. Please forward this newsletter to anyone interested in mysteries, herbs, and gardening.

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    This newsletter is a publication of MysteryPartners, PO Box 1616, Bertram TX 78605-1616. It is provided free, via e-mail, to anyone, worldwide. ©2007 Bill & Susan Albert

    Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues with appropriate credit to Bill & Susan Albert.
    This newsletter is written and edited by Peggy Moody & Susan Wittig Albert.