Free Advice

FreeAdviceNot free advice for you. Free advice for me!

We’ve had some fun in the past trying to figure out a book cover or title. Let’s do it again.

In my Two Sisters and a Journalist series, all of the titles begin with the word Murder. The book I’m currently writing will have a lottery theme running throughout as Mama goes overboard buying scratch-off tickets. A murder will be connected to the lottery as well. There won’t be any jackpot drawings; everything revolves around scratch-off tickets. I prefer to keep the word Lottery out of the title.

So far, I’ve come up with these titles:

Murder Is A Numbers Game (However, I don’t really want another title that begins with “Murder Is.”)
Murder Unlucky
Murder Wins the Game
Murder Scratches the Game
Murder by Chance
Murder by Scratch

I’m leaning toward Murder Wins the Game or Murder Scratches the Game. Scratch is a term also used to cancel, eliminate, dismiss, etc., so I think it works physically and figuratively … but I’m not 100% sold on it. Which do you prefer? Or did you think of something else?

As for the cover … There are no people on the covers in this series. The backgrounds are less vibrant colors. I’m leaning toward a dusky green on this one simply because of the money/greed aspect of the story. (You can see all the covers for the series in the right sidebar of my home page.)

I’ve ruled out lottery balls with numbers. Mama has a lucky scratcher with a four-leaf clover in it, so I tried several four-leaf clovers on the lottery_ticket_bloodcover with a lottery ticket that has blood dripping from the top. Even with the blood, it’s cheesy enough to impart a “lighter mystery” feel, which is what I want. We all know I love cheesy!

However, I think I like the idea of a vault in the morgue, with the body pulled out feet first, and a lottery ticket hanging as the toe tag.

It’s hard to know what works until you see it. If you have any ideas, please share!

My standard disclaimer is to ask that you not be offended if I don’t use your idea(s), and please don’t expect anything other than a free book if I do use your idea(s).

Thanks for brainstorming with me!

P.S. – For all the friendly wisenheimers out there, whom I’ve come to know and love, Hunter will not be part of the title. Nor will any body parts. Thank you very much.


Miracles and Clean Underwear

We had a lovely awards ceremony here at the end of the year, and a good time was had by all.

At that time, I skipped answering the questions for the awards and threatened promised to answer them in a later post. That later post is today.

I’ll start with the standard “seven things” about me, but I’ll share seven things I’ve never done before:
1. I’ve never broken a bone.
2. I’ve never snow skied.Image
3. I’ve never traveled overseas.
4. I’ve never bungee jumped.
5. I’ve never acted in a play.
6. I’ve never eaten sushi.
7. I’ve never used power tools.


Here are seven more to go with the other awards. There are life lessons included:

1) I met my husband on a blind date. At the end of the evening, I told him I didn’t want to see him again. The next day, he told his friends at work that he had met his future wife the night before. Don’t automatically count out the blinding white, cute, blonde guy because he wore white shoes and a white tie.

2) With influentially bad friends, I sneaked into Everglades National Park at midnight, walked out onto a boardwalk, and threw pennies at the alligators.  I found out later we were lucky we weren’t eaten by them. Don’t let your friends try to lead you to your death.

3) I lost control of a car on an icy bridge once. Thankfully, I was in the third lane and the car went left onto the berm instead of right and under the semi next to me. Don’t brake on an icy bridge – even if you don’t know it’s icy.

4) I currently drive a navy blue Ford F150 truck. I never thought I would enjoy driving a truck so much.  Don’t tell your husband “no” when he wants you to drive a truck.

5) I locked myself out of my truck once with only a t-shirt and thin jacket on (and pants for all you wisenheimers). It was during a brutal winter storm, and I had to wait an hour for the tow truck. Don’t wear lightweight clothing in winter, even if you think you are going to be warm in your vehicle.

6) I once lost control of my car (yes, I know!) and ended up in a Imagesnow bank very late at night. I walked two miles home in the snow. My neighbor was a State Highway Patrolman, and I knocked at his door for help. He had the car towed home for me. My brothers saw my tracks in the snow the next day and laughed their butts off. They refused to believe it was me and not some drunk. Don’t drive in bad snow conditions late at night when you’re tired.

7) I once made a grand entrance into a company Christmas party. I was the last person to arrive, and I had to walk down a long staircase into the room. I used my best staircase walk to try to be elegant as I made my way down. My heel caught in the back of my dress and I pitched down several steps on my knees before I could catch myself. When you fall down in front of 300 people, just remember, they can’t help it that they laugh; it’s instinctive.


Moving on to the Super Sweet Blog Award, here are my answers. (I was awarded this again last week by Card Castles in the Sky; thank you so much!)
Cookies or Cake?  Cake
Chocolate or Vanilla?  What is this thing you call vanilla?
What is your favorite sweet treat? Chocolate brownies – hold the nuts.
When do you crave sweet things the most?  Evenings
If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? Sweetie Pie


The Liebster Award was recently awarded to me by Card Castles in the Sky; thank you again! I have questions to answer from Malinka of Malinka’s Studio, and also from Jackie at Change Is Good…..Right???  This would be a lot of questions, so I’ve narrowed it down to several from each list:

What is the exact time and date that you were born?  I was born at 8:00 p.m. on April 20.

What do you believe in?  I believe in miracles and clean underwear.

If someone would write a book upon your life, it would be named?  Sunshine Hunter

Tell us a dear childhood memory that you still cherish.  Playing kick-the-can late at night with siblings, neighbors, and my aunt. Image

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  Starbuck’s Java Chip

If you could meet anyone in the whole of time and space, who would it be?  I know most people would be philosophical here, but I want to meet Frank Sinatra. I’d tell Frank that I think we would have had a good time cruising around Las Vegas together, and please sing “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to me.

Why did chicken cross the street? Because Susan Hunter was over there with chicken feed. 🙂

What got you into blogging? I wanted to chronicle the writing of my books.

When you aren’t blogging what do you do? I don’t remember what I used to do in my spare time. Image

What’s your greatest vice? Playing the lottery.

What was your favorite moment of 2012?  Seeing my first book published on Amazon.

Your next dream travel destination?  The grocery store. Our refrigerator is empty.

A few simple things you love in life?  Listening to sappy, romantic music. Standing outside late at night and listening to the quiet.

What musical instrument have you tried to learn to play? I tried to teach myself to play piano. My left hand refused to cooperate.

Do you like shopping? I like grocery shopping. I hate shopping for clothes. I really, really, hate having to slog through a Gander Mountain or some other manly store.

A wish for this year? To win the blasted lottery! (and world peace)

Phew! But you probably already knew all of these things.


ImageTo tie up some loose ends, I want to thank Pam Tanzey for giving me my sixth Blog of the Year 2012 star to fill my card. Thank you, Pam! I also received a bonus star this week from Jae at Scatterbrain. Thank you, Jae!



Click the award for the rules for this award.

I also want to acknowledge Piper George at Talk About Cheesecake and Chelsea Brown at The Jenny Mac Book Blog for recent nominations for The Versatile Blogger Award. I nominate these versatile folks for this award:

Amber at The Smile Scavenger
Pauline at Gypsy Life
Julie Browning – The Cheeky Diva
Connie at The Sunny Side
Brooke at Wrecking Routine



Click the award for the rules for the award.

Passing on the Super Sweet Blog Award, I choose these super sweet people:

Paula at stuff i tell my sister
Becca at 25ToFly
Dianne – Dianne Gray author
Janice a.k.a Café at Your Daily Dose
Carolyn at ABC of Spirit Talk



Click on the award for the rules for this award.

For The Liebster Award, I choose these dear people:

Brother Jon
So I Went Undercover
The Hook
Crazy Train to Tinky Town
Browsing the Atlas
Lovin the Trip

I hope you will check out some of the people who are linked. As I add and subtract people from my follow list, these fine folks are here to stay.

Don’t Play the Lottery? Maybe You Should


There is no talk of writing, book sales, or marketing today. We are playing the lottery today, and I’m going to share with you how I win.

The lottery commercials in our state always proclaim, “Odds are, you’ll have fun!” Obviously, they can’t say, “Odds are, you’ll win!” because the odds are definitely against you.

Do you know someone who has won the lottery?

A friend of my husband’s was in a big pool at his place of work. When they won, fifty people shared 75 million. After the first wave of taxes, they each had about $450,000.

A girlfriend of mine has a best friend (obviously, I’m not her best friend) who won several million dollars in the Massachusetts lottery. She moved away, and my friend never heard from her best friend again.

A man in our town is an acquaintance of mine, and this year, he won $10,000 on scratch-off tickets – TWICE. His wins were one week apart.

People do win.

I remember when the lottery started in our state. On that first day, I stopped on my way home from work and spent about $50 on scratch-off tickets. I took them back to my apartment and spread them out on the kitchen table. I knew I was going to be a BIG winner. I wasn’t. I never played the lottery again.

Until a few years ago.

I’d take $10 and go buy five $2 tickets. I was surprised at how often one of them was a $20 winner. I thought if moved on to $5 tickets, I could win more money. Yep. I occasionally won $50 or $100. Hmm … how about $10 tickets? Oh, boy! There were $500 tickets in there!

I figured out that you needed to buy more than one ticket, and rather than to buy several different games, you needed to stick with just one or two.

ImageOf course, I worked my way up to $20 tickets. You have to be brave to scratch off $20 tickets, because when they’re losers, it’s just like standing over the toilet and flushing a $20 bill down while you wave buh-bye.

However, if you’re going to play the lottery, do your homework.

Every so often, I check online to see which $20 tickets still have large prize amounts available and how many are left. I compare each ticket side by side until I’ve chosen the top two with the best odds and the best prizes remaining. I only play the top ticket. If the store I’m in doesn’t have it, I’ll go with the second best, but I don’t allow myself to be tempted by anything else.

I don’t play scratch-off tickets every day. Many times, I only buy one ticket a month. If I hit a winner of $100 or more, I use 70% for whatever we want or need at the time, and I reinvest 30% (if I want to).

I’ve scratched off many, many $100 winners. Last summer, we had guests coming for two weeks, and I was wishing I had extra money. The next time I was at the grocery store, I slipped two twenty-dollar bills into the lottery machine and bought two of my top game. The first ticket was a $500 winner; the ticket behind it was $100. The next day, I went to my mother’s. I ran to the store to get something for her, and I bought just one more of my top game. It was another $500 winner. I set aside the thousand and reinvested the rest; I scratched yet another $500 ticket. Within a week and a half, I had $1500 set aside for nothing more than having a good time with our guests.

We have repaired vehicles, gone out to dinner, bought things we wanted – I PAID FOR MY FIRST BOOK COVER – all with lottery money. There were many times I would throw $50 at our son, smile, and simply say, “lottery.”

As for the bigger games … I don’t play them. Oh, sometimes we’ll grab one ticket when a pot gets obscenely big, but I really don’t want to win a massive amount of money. I can tell myself all day long it wouldn’t change me – but I’m afraid it would. I’ve seen firsthand how money changes people.

I play our state’s Rolling Cash 5. The pot is usually $100,000 before taxes, and someone wins it all the time. I pay my $1.00 a day for my chance to win just enough money to make things interesting around here.

I’ve been playing the Rolling Cash 5 for three years. I’ve won $300 four times; I’ve had numerous $10 winners, and several times each month, I get my lousy dollar back. I’m ahead of the game, so I bide my time until it’s my turn to win.

Some people sew, scrapbook, garden, or have any number of hobbies. Me? I play the lottery. The ads are right – I do have fun. Do you play the lottery? If so, what’s your biggest win so far?

Oh! I almost forgot! Here are my two biggest wins. They were each $1,000 winners. The first in January of 2010 when I bought two tickets. The second in February of 2010 when I bought just one ticket. They are both the same game – my top game pick at the time. ImageImageDisclaimer #1: If you have a gambling problem, if your budget is stretched to the limit, or if you think the lottery is only for poor, dumb people, please disregard everything I have written in this post.

Disclaimer #2: The information/comments in this post are my own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone who does or does not know me.

When Everything Lines Up In the Universe … And the Lottery

I wrote last time that my brother-in-law did the artwork for the cover of my cookbook. Sadly, he died much too young just over a year ago. I couldn’t think of anyone else who could help me with a cover for my Susan Hunter book.

I tried cobbling my own cover together with my desktop publisher by using stock photos and good-looking fonts, but nothing looked right or conveyed the light, breezy theme of the book. I finally asked my sister if she would ask her daughter to give me a hand.

In the meantime, I thought I should see about getting a website for the book. I was ready to call our internet provider and request a domain in my name when it dawned on me that I already had a website I wasn’t using, and OH.MY.GOSH, I had named it Breezy Books when I set it up six years ago. It wasn’t my main website and it’s been dormant for several years. My nickname when I played racquetball was Breezy (dumb blonde act, not quite pumped up full air – or so they said), and who knew all these years later that goofy nickname would still serve me well.

My sister told me that my niece would be happy to design a cover for me. She takes after her father and is quite artistic herself. I was ready to have her start the work, but I didn’t have the extra money to pay her, so I was going to have to wait a while. I would never take her for granted and ask her to do it for free even though that’s what I did to her dad. 🙂

I’m not averse to playing the lottery. You have to be brave though to spend $20 on a scratch-off ticket, and I did just that a few days later. Woo-hoo! It was a $500 winner. I paid a few bills with the money and then set some back for three covers because I was pretty sure I could write three books for the series. My niece started right away on the first one.

I’m delighted with her work. She captured the fun, girlie – and pink – atmosphere of the story. When I sent a check to her, I included the copy of my cookbook that I found at the used book sale. She was surprised and said she had obviously seen the cookbook in her mom’s cupboard for years, but she never knew her dad had done the artwork. I know he would be proud of the work she has done for me. I think it’s pretty neat that two generations of one family have helped me with my self-publishing efforts.

The perfect website already in my possession. The perfect book cover. Priceless.