Everyone Needs A Bernadette In Their Life!


It’s not often I use my blog to urge you to buy  a book that I believe is a “must read” for everyone. Today I’m doing that. The book is Love A Foot Above the Ground by Anna Celeste Burke, and yes, that badge is correct. It was recently voted by readers as one of 50 self-published books worth reading.

It’s not only charming, it beautifully deals with the subject of love and loss – for a young woman. I was so taken with the book that I contacted the author and asked her if I might write a blog and if she would let me know how Bernadette came about. Was she someone in Ms. Burke’s past or a created character. It really doesn’t matter, because she’s simply one of the best characters I’ve run across, and I read a lot!!!

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I invite you to read her thoughts on Bernadette and when you’re finished with that, buy the book on Amazon. Believe me, you won’t regret it! Here’s the link: http://ow.ly/RswZO

Without further ado, here’s Ms. Burke’s thoughts on Bernadette:

Imagining Bernadette…

Rich or poor, we should all have a Bernadette in our lives.

Love a Foot above the Ground is Bernadette’s story. She’s a major character in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series. That series features uber-rich Jessica Huntington as a reluctant amateur sleuth. It whisks together mystery and a family saga with themes found in women’s fiction—infidelity, betrayal, divorce, addiction, family and relationship problems. The biggest mystery for Jessica to solve is how her privileged, well-planned life has turned into an utter disaster.

Bernadette is the leavening agent, a key ingredient that adds spice to this series. A mother figure, she’s the heart of the home where Jessica grew up, even though Bernadette’s not related to any of them. Hired to manage the estate before Jessica’s birth, Bernadette soon became much more. The Huntingtons are blessed with good things—wealth, status, education, an illustrious genealogy, but as in so many families that seem to have it all, there is something missing. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, good mental health, morality or ethics, important things that Bernadette seems to possess in spades.

Tough as nails, resourceful, and resilient, Bernadette’s capacity for good is disproportionate to her physical size: she’s tiny. Her influence is disproportionate to her social standing as measured by any of the metrics used to track status, place people in a ‘class,’ or locate them on a hierarchy of power and success. She’s a household manager, and to many that’s synonymous with ‘the maid.’ The maid she is not! Bernadette has a profound sense of service and duty without being subservient. She’s kind and funny, but fierce too when making sure Jessica faces the problems in her life. In book 2 of the Jessica Huntington series, A DEAD SISTER, she tells Jessica: “The worst kind of truth is better than the best lie.”

Love a Foot above the Ground is a glimpse into Bernadette’s past, the circumstances that forged her character, and the bond she formed with Jessica. Bernadette’s story reflects a profound faith and a love of family, nurtured in a traditional setting: a small fishing village on the Sea of Cortez in the 1960s. In her world, “love lifts you up about a foot above the ground,” she tells Jessica, and “even the shadows cast by love are heaven sent.”

She knows what she’s talking about. Bernadette’s world came crashing down around her at sixteen. Those events might have crushed many of us. Not Bernadette. In this coming of age story there’s romance, adventure, mystery, and tragic loss, but Bernadette prevails, an inspiration to us all.

Where does this character come from? Elements of Bernadette recount heroic female figures from my favorite childhood books. Heroines in real life, too, who showed up in school auditoriums to tell us that girls had the right to dream big! She’s also a testament to my chance encounters with every day saints. I’m talking about women working as teachers, school nurses, sales clerks, librarians, counselors; tucked away in unglamorous nooks and crannies, offering small gestures of comfort and support we too often take for granted.

Is there a real Bernadette out there somewhere? I hope so—hordes of them, in fact.

Where to find the book:


BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-a-foot-above-the-ground-anna-celeste-burke/1120962192?ean=9781505400687




AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Celeste-Burke/e/B00H8J4IQS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/aburke59

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/annacelesteburke

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7553558.Anna_Celeste_Burke


A DEAD HUSBAND http://smarturl.it/deadhus

A DEAD SISTER http://smarturl.it/deadsis

A DEAD DAUGHTER http://smarturl.it/deaddau

Thanks, Ms. Burke.

I’m a real fan of this lady’s writing, having read everything she’s written and thoroughly enjoyed each one, but I have to tell you, Bernadette will stay with you. If nothing else, put her in the corner of your mind. Her wisdom will serve you well!



Time for a Giveaway!

It’s time for a Giveaway! You may be one of two winners of my latest book in the Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery Series, The Death Card, by simply leaving a comment, signing up for my newsletter if you haven’t already done so, and going to my Facebook page, http://ow.ly/R9ArI, and sharing the post regarding the Giveaway. It will be at the top of the page. The Giveaway will end Saturday at midnight. Good luck!

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If you can’t wait to see if you’re a winner, here’s the link to buy it: getBook.at/Tarot

As always, enjoy!

Mystery Writers Revealed

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I’m involved with a group of authors in the mystery/cozy mystery genres and this is a date you don’t want to miss. A chance to ask authors questions, etc. I really think you’ll enjoy this, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you know about it.

You Say Tomato…


Duncan Whitehead is one of my absolute favorite authors. I’ve read everything he’s written, and I stand in awe of his wit and cleverness. He’s one of the few people who makes me laugh out loud. When I finish one of his books I’m always amazed at how he can weave a story with so many twists and turns you have no idea how it’s going to turn out. He’s the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Reader’s Favorite International Book Award and Gold Medalist.

I recently asked Duncan to write about his latest book, You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato, She Says Murder. First a little background about Duncan. If you’ve not read this talented author before, I envy you. It’s rare to discover an extremely talented author who, after reading one book, makes us want to read everything that author has written. He’s one of the few I put in that category.

Multi Award Winning Author, Duncan Whitehead hails from the UK and after a successful career in the Royal Navy where he served in British Embassies throughout South America before he joined the world of superyachts.

Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote THE GORDONSTON LADIES WALKING CLUB, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment. The book, a dark comedy mystery, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, is set in the leafy neighborhood where he once lived.

His passion for comedy saw submissions to many online satire news sites and a stint performing as a stand-up comedian.

Duncan has also written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of websites, both in the US and the UK.

He has penned further novels; a comedy set in Manhattan, THE RELUCTANT JESUS, published in April 2014 and republished in July 2015. He has also recently released the final two books in THE GORDONSTON LADIES DOG WALKING CLUB TRILOGY.   He has also recently published two short stories.

Well known for his charity work, kindness to animals, children and old people; and, of course, his short-lived bullfighting career and his hideous hunchback.

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato, She Says Murder

I wrote ‘Tomato’ because I enjoy reading quick short stories that end with a twist.  When I began writing it, I had already visualized an idyllic country village in Dorset, where everyone knew each other.  The characters were inspired by my imagination of two old ladies, growing old gracefully and having nothing really to worry about.

Both main characters have no worries, no fears. and the last thing you would expect is for them to be involved in a murder.

I love old English Black and White movies, and I adore Agatha Christie.  Ealing Studios in London used to produce many films that contained characters like the ladies in my book.

The book also has a moral tale.  It shows the lengths someone will go to to win; even if those measures are extreme.

The story is short and sweet, a bit like a tomato and, for info…I love them!


http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Patricks-Day-Gordonston-Thriller-ebook/dp/B012AN01GW  –

http://www.amazon.com/Gordonston-Ladies-Dog-Walking-Club-ebook/dp/B00FN2KR2G  –  –




Author Page 0n Amazon


Twitter  https://twitter.com/DuncanWhitehead

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheGordonstonLadiesDogWalkingClub


Have to Share!

Happy Tuesday!
Just back from British Columbia. My husband had salmon fly fishing on a floating barge hotel only accessible by fly in sea planes on his bucket list, so we decided to go. When we were weathered in at the airport for 24 hours in Port Hardy, British Columbia, I was beginning to have my doubts. Weather cleared, we got flown in, and he got salmon. Have to look at the glass half-full – and I was able to write 25,000 words in a new book. It ended up a win-win and we’re having salmon tonight!
Thrilled when I got back to find out that Murder in Cottage # 6 http://ow.ly/QLoT8 was voted by readers as being one of the top 50, actually #11, of the Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading of 2014-2015 This is a cozy mystery with lots of food and dogs. That was the first good news!
And the second thing I want to share is the cover of my new book, Murder at the Cooking School. Full disclosure – my husband and I attended a cooking school in Tuscany several years ago, so there are certainly bits and parts of that experience in the book. As always, good food, recipes, a murder, and an Italian dog, a Courser breed, who naturally plays a big role in the book. It will be published in the next ten days or so. Just wanted to give you a head’s up!

A Day In The Life Of An Author


There’s an old Zen proverb I’ve always loved. It goes like this: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” If you’re a child of the 60’s or 70’s you may remember a bestselling book of the same name.


I’m always asked what does my day consist of? I was thinking about this and realized an author’s life is very similar to the saying with a couple of substitutions: “Before best selling books, write. After best selling books, write.” And that’s what I do.


I’m an early riser, plus we have a puppy who likes to go outside about five in the morning. I let her out, make some coffee, and curl back up in bed with my iPad for some social media marketing which includes twitter and Facebook. Then I check my email and respond to that.

After that it’s time to get serious about the day, including a shower, maybe having my husband test my knowledge of crossword puzzles while I’m getting dressed, whatever.

Around 7:30 or 8:00 I usually begin my day at the computer in my office, again doing some more social media marketing – the things I couldn’t do from my iPad. There are always the normal interruptions – like the dog walker I decided would be very beneficial in the training of this puppy (by now you’re getting the sense that this is a very, very active young puppy!), a trip to the store, whatever! You all know the things that are involved in running a household – even as mundane as transferring the washing load to the dryer.


I’m at my desk, on and off, until around 4:00 in the afternoon. My stomach has never opened up for a sit down breakfast, so I usually heat some leftovers from the night before and eat at my desk – yeah, I known, doctors and nutritionists wouldn’t approve, but at 71 and very healthy, what the heck!

During these hours I’ll write or edit a couple of chapters, check email and other social media and back again. It’s really nothing all that glamorous, and it’s a lot of hard work. From the time I started writing which really wasn’t all that long ago, I’ve done it almost every day, unless we’re on vacation, and I often even write then, on my iPad. Matter of fact, my very first foray into the field of writing was a book named Blue Coyote Motel. I wrote it entirely on my iPad while I was in Sacramento, California with my husband who was in the State Legislature at the time. I think the reason I’ve never had writers’ block is that I write almost every day. Some days it comes easily, some days are just grinding out the hours.


In writing there are two types which are commonly referred to as pantsters or plotters. What that means is that many authors plan out their books, chapter by chapter, before they ever take finger to computer. Then there are those of us who simply can’t do it. I’ve tried, and believe me, I felt like I was in some small elevator and starting to hyperventilate from the sheer boxed in feeling I got.. I cannot write that way, but I’ve come to think of it as a bonus. When I start writing a book, I have no idea what’s going to happen and often, not a clue whodunit! Best of all worlds – I get to read a book while I’m writing it!

That’s just writing the book. Then there are the numerous discussions with the person who designs my covers and formats my books as well as the narrator who I now have narrating my books for audio. Not to mention the marketing. And so it goes! Nothing all that glamorous. I’m pretty much doing almost exactly the same thing I was before my books became best sellers. Still chopping wood and carrying water!

Would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll giveaway an ebook of the one that started the cozy mystery series – Kelly’s Koffee Shop!


The Genesis of the Monkey Band Book


I think every writer is well aware of the saying, “Write what you know.” I never thought I knew enough about anything to write a book which is what probably kept me from writing for so long. Then I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” He more or less says you don’t need to go to a lot of expensive workshops or have a master’s degree in journalism to write. What I took away from the book is that he said, “Just do it.” So what did I know? I know dogs and food, so I did it.


Voila! Perfect for a cozy mystery. I’m now well into two series, Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series and the Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery Series, and I love writing them, but lately I’ve been getting an itch to write a third cozy mystery series. I was an art and antique appraiser for many years and was fortunate enough to be flown all over the United States by an insurance company who specialized in clients with very high-end personal property that needed to be appraised. During that time, I was fortunate enough to appraise some incredible collections. I certainly didn’t consider myself to be an expert in everything, but I had over 140 people I could call on to either take on the appraisals with me or use for research.

So, I thought a series based on an art and antique appraiser living in a small California desert town would be fun. I have a fried who’s a psychic. Not a “think I’m a psychic person,” but one who’s good enough the University of California tested her and agreed, the lady has a sixth sense. So an appraiser with a sister who’s a psychic. It was coming together. As I played with it I started remembering things that happened when I was on appraisals, and as I’ve said in past posts, the protagonist is rarely the author, but experiences can certainly creep in, particularly if you’re writing about what you know!

file4091234059313A ring you say, what does that have to do with anything? Well, years ago I was doing a probate appraisal, and the decedent’s son told me his mother had owned a fabulous ring, and he couldn’t find it. Would I keep an eye out for it? Of course, but I couldn’t find it either.That night I was talking to my psychic friend and mentioned it. She asked if she could come to the house the next day and that she might be able to find it. I said absolutely. The next day she walked through each of the rooms while I was appraising items in the master bedroom.


She walked into the bedroom with a knife and a cutting board. Knives and guns make me nervous, and if I hadn’t known her better, I probably would have been terrified. She put the knife and cutting board on the bathroom counter and walked into the closet, returning with a styrofoam head. She put the head on the cutting board and just like in the movies, raised her arms over her head and brought the knife down, cutting the head in half. Yup, the ring flew out. That was too good not to make it into the book!

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And the Monkey Band? What is a Monkey Band? The insurance company had flown me to Chicago to appraise a collection of Meissen china worth millions. In the collection was an authentic 18th century Monkey Band set. The set consisted of twenty-two five inch figurines in the form of monkeys dressed in 18th century costumes, and each one had an instrument, plus the conductor. It was charming and very expensive, worth well over a million dollars. Over the years, I’ve thought about that collection and one of the things that stayed with me is how frustrating it would be to almost have a complete set. Naturally that made it into the book – murder and people wanting to complete their set!

I guess maybe I’ve come full circle – I’m writing what I know about!!!

Kindle Countdown Don’t Miss!


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Had to get this great post about a wonderful book in the blog in time for her Amazon Countdown – good until the July 23rd. You don’t want to miss the countdown!

Diane Weiner is a veteran public school teacher and mother of four children. She has enjoyed reading for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York and yearned to write books that would bring that kind of enjoyment to her readers. Being an animal lover, she is a vegetarian and shares her home with two adorable cats and a little white dog. In her free time, she enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family (especially going to the mall with her teenage daughter and getting Dairy Queen afterwards). Murder in the Middle is the third book in her Susan Wiles School House Mystery series and she has plans for many more.

Murder is Elemental

When people find out that I write mysteries, I’m often asked where I get my ideas. I wish I could wake up from a dream and have a best-selling series all mapped out like J.K. Rowlings did, but that isn’t the case. My ideas come from images that I see, news stories, or wishes I have.

Murder is Elementary, the first in my series, began with the image of a half-eaten cupcake on the principal’s desk. In the school where I was working, there was a wannabee administrator who continually brought our principal home-made baked goods and the image stayed with me. Murder in the Middle was born from a childhood memory of a waterfall in New York State, where I grew up. My recent release had an interesting start, thanks to my dog’s urgent plea for a predawn walk. On the third floor apartment landing across from where I stood with him, the light kept blinking on and off, in a pattern of sorts. You know the old saying: when you hear hooves think horses not zebras? Well, the first thought I had wasn’t that the light was broken. It was that someone up there was sending a Morse code signal. That image became flashing lights used to signal a boat from the third floor of a private school auditorium!

Truth can be stranger than fiction. Many of my ideas come from actual news stories. In Florida, there have been lots of stories about pill mills and the Stand Your Ground Law, which allows one to shoot an intruder if he or she feels like his life is in danger. Recently, a car with two teenagers who’d been missing for 30 years was pulled from a canal. All three of those stories figured into my most recent book.

A story on Sixty Minutes about people in their sixties finding out they were sold as infants thanks to a corrupt doctor, gave me the whole story line idea for my main character searching for her birth mother. An organization was traveling the country offering DNA testing to help those people find their parents. In my series, I created a fictional Georgia Babes Foundation which helps Susan Wiles in her search.

Lastly, I have created things in my book that I want. I would love more than anything to head a first rate, performing arts high school. In my school, the students are talented, polite, and caring. The setting is beautiful, and there’s Starbucks and Barnes and Noble right outside the campus. In real life, my classes are overcrowded and I’ve had students arrested for dealing drugs and robbery. A person can dream…






The Death Card Giveaway

You don’t want to miss this blog and giveaweay for my latest book, The Death Card. . Good luck!

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Michele Bodenheimer on Twitter: “E-Book GA (3)-The Death Card (A Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery Series – Bk 3)-Dianne Harman-Ends 8/10 http://t.co/Ts1ifPHAip http://t.co/Ve4w4Ill3y”

Where Do They Come From?


I’m constantly asked “Where do you get your ideas for your books?” Or, “Is it hard to come up with things that happen in the book?”

As I mentioned in the last blog, I am not my book, but ideas for books are everywhere. Yesterday evening I walked out to the mailbox and saw a little daisy growing between two asphalt sections of the driveway. That’s a miracle! A whole book could be done on what it took for that little daisy to grow there. Where did the seed come from? Was it dropped by a bird or did the wind blow it there? Or maybe have it be a metaphor for no matter how hard one’s life is, it can’t be any harder than blooming between two asphalt sections!


Earlier this week I was grocery shopping early in the morning – I’ve learned to take my puppy to a doggy day care a couple of times a week so I can get some writing done! It just made sense to get the shopping out of the way early in the day. There was a young woman standing at the checkout line in front of me. She was probably about 25 or 30. She had a toddler balanced on her hip and another child was sitting in the grocery cart basket. What got my attention was the 12 pack of beer that was in her basket. That was the only item in her basket. There’s a story there, I thought. Who was she buying it for? Herself? Her husband? A significant other? I have no way of knowing, but I do know I could use that incident in a book and probably will!

Many years ago, I was taking yoga lessons from a beloved teacher. We became very good friends, and even traveled to several Native American places in the Southwest. On that trip she told me a story that has stuck with me for over twenty years. Her daughter was very concerned about my friend’s grandson. He was schizophrenic, and she was desperate to find help for him. She heard about a healer who was coming to the United States from India, and she made an appointment to meet with him. There were about twenty people along with my friend’s daughter in the meeting room. The “healer” talked to each one of them about what why there were there and told each of them he could help them if they would let him have their favorite piece of jewelry they were wearing so he could get their “vibes into his psyche for the healing.”

Yup, you guessed it. He told them he would be alone with their jewelry for awhile in another room and then return it to them. He left and was never heard from again and their jewelry went with him. I’ve thought about that over the years from time to time. It was really a lesson in just how much people want to believe in something and what they are willing to do. I have a new book coming out in a few days called The Death Card. It’s a cozy mystery about death and a tarot card reader. I broadly incorporated my friend’s daughter’s incident into the book.


My problem isn’t finding things to go into my books. It’s sifting through a lifetime of “notices” to see what’s appropriate for a book. Just about every experience and conversation has something in it that could go into a book. My family and friends know at some point in our conversation I’m going to say, “Would you mind if I used that in a book?”

I invite you to visit my website: http://www.dianneharman.com or email me at dianne@dianneharman.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Murder in Calico Gold Giveaway!

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I’m thrilled and have to share. Murder in Calico Gold is now ranked at #124 in paid Kindle. That’s nosebleed territory. What that means is that out of all the books sold on Amazon, it’s the 124th best-selling book. Woo Hoo!

To celebrate, thought I’d have a giveaway. I’m giving away two autographed copies of Murder in Calico Gold. To enter please sign up for my newsletter and leave a comment. Contest ends this Sunday at midnight. Good luck!

The Death Card is Almost Here!

Have to share my newest book which will be published within a few days!

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Seth Williams, the bumbling and incompetent police chief of Red Cedar, calls Liz Lucas and asks her to help him solve the murder of his deputy, Leroy. He’s worried he might be a suspect because Leroy was going to run against him in the upcoming police chief election. His alibi is that he was getting a tarot card reading from Madame Dika when the murder occurred, but she vehemently denies that the reading ever occurred.

Liz and her protective dog, Winston, follow numerous and sometimes conflicting clues as they try to discover who killed Leroy. Was it the tarot card reader, Madame Dika, who had served time in prison for a psychic scam involving jewelry? Her brother, Anton, who has ties to a Southern European stolen credit card ring? Tom Rice, an ex-felon who had been in prison for wife-beating? Donna, Leroy’s ex-wife, who wants to get the back alimony Leroy owed her by making a claim against his life insurance. Or Ratface, Leroy’s bookie? And yes, it might even be the police chief himself.

And what about the relationship between Liz and Roger, the San Francisco lawyer she’s in love with. He gives her advice and helps her solve the case, but will their long-distance relationship turn into something more?

Award Winning Author in the Mystery & Suspense genre