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February 25, 2010

The Good News/Bad News Blog

The Good News/Bad News Blog


by Nancy (whose book comes out next week!)

Our lady of immaculate

The good news?  Today marks our 1700th blog here at TLC.  Amazing, right?


The bad news? My grandson is here, and therefore I have insufficient time to pay the proper respect to this momentous TLC anniversary. Bobby is 18 months old, learning to talk, endlessly cheerful, constantly charging around the house with armloads of books and dribbling milk on my floors.  It’s heaven, which is good news. Delightful news, in fact.

Can I share the really bad news that hit us this week? On Tuesday, a week and a half after the big snow storm here, my daughters and I heard thunder on our roof.  I'm telling you, it sounded like a train wreck. Or maybe a plane crashing into our chimney. We looked out the dining room window in time to see our copper gutters and downspouts—weighted down with half a ton of ice--come CRASHING across the tiles of the porch roof to land with a colossal SMASH on the porch. The concussion shook the whole house to the foundation. 


A day later, our contractor arrived. (Rick is a regular around here since he renovated our kitchen and numerous other projects that keep this 90-year-old manse semi-functioning.)  By the way, Rick's boss is Heidi, who's as close to a role model for Roxy Abruzzo as you can get. She's a tough-talking contractor who brings her kids in the 4x4 when she visits a site. Anyway, Rick climbed a series of ladders—it looked life-threatening to me when he perched a 6-footer on the peak of the porch—and from a precarious perch pronounced the verdict like a death knell:  We need a whole new roof.  Gutters and downspouts, too.

It’s actually possible to hear this kind of bad news with good cheer if you’re holding your grandson in your arms at the time. 


Another bad news headline recently announced that blogs are "over" (again!)  Except the headline was amended to say that most people who read blogs are "older."  Meaning, I guess, over the age of 13.  I'm actually thinking this is good news for us, since the whole raison d'etre for a blog like TLC is to reach out to people who read books.  Books, as you may have noticed, have word counts considerably longer than blogs do, but a blog reader is more likely to buy a book, right? Whereas advocates of Twitter may not have the attention span to read even a novella, let alone take the time to purchase a novel.  So we're thinking we're still doing the right thing by paying Her, Margie's paycheck and keeping the offices of The Lipstick Chronicles open. 


Thing is, we've established a pretty upbeat tone here at TLC from the beginning, which perhaps sets us apart from most blogs.  We don't do cynical very well.  Snarky?  Not our daily cuppa.  Upbeat is easy to do, of course, when we're annoucing book releases.  (Have I mentioned OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION will be in stores------well, what does the countdown say on the left side of your screen?)  It's not been so easy, say, when Elaine had her stroke.  (Which seems ages ago now that she's back firing on all cylinders, right?)  Divorce took Harley's pins out from under her for a while, but we remained up tempo. Sarah's dad had a heart attack earlier this week, and we've appreciated the many prayers.  And I've kept it quiet so far--per his wishes--but Jeff's under the weather at the moment. (Shh!  Don't tell him I told you!) So having the community of TLC behind us--you lovable lot, you adorable yous--has been a godsend to us. We hope we've done the same for you. We love that we can crack jokes and boost each other's spirits every day.  Each and every 1700 days!


So . . . thanks, readers.  We luv ya. 


Now: Please buy my book next week.  (It really, really matters that you buy the week it's released.)  I know it's expensive.  And I recognize that if you liked my previous books for the pretty clothes and the genteel people, you may not find OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION to be exactly your fave.  But give Roxy a chance. She's going to grow on you, I promise. In exchange, we'll keep TLC up and running. Check in with us every day for the latest hijinks. The good and the bad.  We'll make it entertaining.


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As the orders pour in this week for Nancy's terrific new book, I know some of you have not ordered your copy.
Please do rememebr that www.mysterylovers.com reports all sales to the New York Times {Yikes, Mary alice, that's supposed to be a secret}.

It is gorgeous and you can read our review at the website too.

Mystery Lovers loves and adores all of you who have become our regular customers and help your indy store survive....read and love!!!

Congratulations to all of you on your 1700th day! That is no small feat. And Nancy I get that grandson thing....I am impressed you got anything done. I am somewhat new to TLC, about a couple weeks but just wanted to say I LOVE reading the blog and appreciate what you do with promoting books. I for one hope this blog will never be "over!" Sorry about that roof too... Ouch.

Congrats to your 1700th blog and even though I don't post often, this blog is a must read.

1700th Blog? A milestone!

By the way, Nancy, I heard a rumor you've got a new book coming out next week. Any truth to that????

(I'm smiling my Winning Smile so Nancy doesn't smack me for that one! Already ordered mine from Mystery Lovers (Hi, Mary Alice!) and cannot wait to read it....)

Also, I'm dragging Nancy over to my group blog on March 3 AND I'll be giving away a copy of Roxy's book, so mark your calendars to visit that day. You'll be helping two of us with one click! (psst Nancy....Need something for the blog, remember)

Blog address: http://everybodyneedsalittleromance.com

Now, if any of you have every visited my personal blog (which WAS cynthiadalba.blogspot.com), you may be wondering about the new one. Well, I've been group blogging for a while AND (here's the best part) while trying to get rid of an old gmail account, I DELETED MY ENTIRE GOOGLE ACCOUNT, which of course deleted my personal blog. So my blogspot is no longer. Sigh. I tried to find the silver lining...I can rerun some topics. LOL

I'll also be talking about Nancy's new book I THINK on March 2 at the group blog.

and congrats on 1700!!

ANd what a cutie in the picture. Something you pulled of the net? (hee hee)

Whenever I read that a writer is going to try something new--whether it's a new genre, new character, new series--my respect goes up several notches. New ventures show that, no matter your success level, you're still trying to grow as a writer. That should always be encouraged.

You did not mention (but I don't think I'm giving away any secret) that Roxy actually grew out of the Blackbirds' story. For every genteel, pretty Blackbird sister is a woman like Roxy, without the formal education or social advantages, but possessing a different kind of smarts and savvy. We all know Roxys--women just trying to make their way through the world, using whatever skill set they've acquired.

One writer wrote both Nora and Roxy. In some very important ways, they're not all that different.

I hope your book sales are through the roof! And that it happens BEFORE you get the new one.
Congratulations on 1700 and many more.
Susan Shay

Er--uh---duh.....this is me, just waking up. It's hard to believe how much sleep a toddler doesn't seem to need, but the grandparents are staggering around in a fog after just a couple of days. Jeez, how did we do this child-rasing thing the first time around??

Thanks, all, for your kind words. Sherri D, we're so glad to have you! And Cyndi, I have something drafted for you, but I need this weekend to get it polished up. (Bobby leaves tomorrow.--Sniff! After that, though, I'll have time to get back to everyone.)

BTW, we're having a shindig at Mystery Lovers on FRiday, March 5--with an authentic Pittsburgh cookie table! Come one, come all.

Congrats on your 1700th blog, Tarts! Although I may not have backblogged as much lately (cause I'm actually trying to write), I read the blog whenever I can. It's amazing that you can bring fresh material to your readers every day. Thanks for that and for all the fun too.

Nancy, huge bummer about your roof. Heavy snow from the same wicked storms caused a few roofs, trees, etc to collapse here too. I'm glad you have your grandson around to help soften the blow of paying for all the repairs. Oh, and I can't wait to read your new book and meet Roxy. I bet she's amazing!

The roof situation is definitely a bummer. It's currently terra cotta tiles and slate. The copper downspouts alone cost a fortune. I think we're going the cheap route to replace.--So much for the strict adherence to historic guidelines.

Here's hoping for another 1700 posts. You all are amazing--you turn out consistently interesting, informed and funny posts. Those 13-year-olds don't know what they're missing.

Go, Pittsburgh! (And what's a Pittsburgh cookie?)

Congratualations on your 1700th!!! I have been lurking for years, since the early days with Susan McB. Your blog is great, a must read. Somehow it never gets old. Thanks so much!!! And yes I will give Roxy a try....I'm looking forward to it

Nancy: It is a good thing you don't live in Charleston. It took a friend over a year and a small donation to the local historical society -- no quid pro quo I'm sure -- to be able to repaint their front door in the “South of Broad” district Pat Conroy has made famous.

The attitude here seems to be, if Rhett Butler had copper gutters, then by golly YOU’LL have copper gutters. And like it.

The nicest part of Charleston – it is where all four of the grandkids live

This blog is part of my morning routine . . . right up there with a goo cup (or 4) of coffee. You ladies ROCK!

Sorry about the roof, but so glad you had your grandson there to ease the blow.

Off to order your book from Mary Alice . . .

Yeah, that's supposed to be "good" not "goo" . . .

Congratulations for this 1700 post anniversary!
I hope that the problems you were talking about, Nancy, are over. I wish a quick recovery and a lot of health to Sarah’s dad.

I’m relatively new here but even in this short time I cannot stop wondering how you all, Tarts, can come out every day with such an exciting stuff.
I just regret not being able too write everyday because of the work, kids and time difference (even though it happened to me to skip work for some important personal events:))

Nancy, once, I experienced the thunder on the roof too exactly in the same way. We were in our countryside home, and were awaked by a shiver of our house. It’s a small shabby shack but a shack of the 14th century that’s why it seemed solid for me before. We went out to see if the house was not going to crumble. We didn’t have any electricity and the TV antenna was torn down. Next day it was for the local Rick to come over.

Best wishes to all of you and longue vie à TLC.

Oh, dear, I should have explained the cookie table better. But must run out with the kids for an hour. Be back soon. Meanwhile, any Pittsburghers out there? Tell Sheila about our cookie tables.

It's Me, Margie.

I always read these blogs, you know, but when one of them says something about "Margie's Paycheck" I really, really read it.

1700 is a lot of blogs. I wasn't even here at the beginning and I can tell you it seems like forevrer - I mean yesterday - that I came to work here. I like this job. They get a lot of deliveries and I don't have to punch a time clock.

So keep reading, people. You don't want me to get angry. You won't like me when I'm angry.

By the way - I have to take a long lunch today - USA Women are playing for Hockey Gold!

Wow, 1700 blogs. That's so cool. I'm hoping this blog is around for a long time to come. I enjoy it immensely, including all the people here. This blog is by and for writers and readers, but its topics often center around life in general, which is why it's so awesome.

I'm sorry about your roof, and sad about the demise of the copper gutters.

Love and wishes for good health continue to go out to Sarah and her family, and also to Jeff, though I'll deny any knowledge of anything about him if asked.

Your grandson is just a beautiful child, Nancy.

Wow, 1700 blogs! Way to go, Tarts! I've only read 600-700 of them, but every single one has been enjoyable. Thanks for continuing to entertain and enliven, and for letting me be a part of it, however small.

I've said it before, but you guys are brilliant marketers. Before I found this blog, via Harley's website, I had not read any of your books; now I own all of them, and have ordered Hank's and Nancy's latest from MLB. If they weren't great books, by the way, I would have stopped with the first of each, but you have that winning combination. Well done.

Rita had the answer to paying for the new roof--selling the copper from the gutters. There was a piece on local TV just the other night about how thieves are dismantling gutters and water pipes for the copper. Yikes. A couple of times they didn't even bother turning off the water, so the homeowners returned to find water spewing everywhere.

Sending healthy vibes to Jeff and Sarah's dad, and best wishes for a successful launch for Roxy's debut. As for the "genteel" Blackbird sisters: Nora, yes, but that Libby is a hot mess. She may have the bloodline, but I have a suspicion Roxy can't hold a candle to Libby when it comes to men!

Happy anniversary, and many more.

I decided last week to treat myself and I ordered my very own signed copy from Mystery Lovers. It was the day of the AZ to BS blog, which was quite an eye opener.

I can't wait to get it and maybe sneak away somewhere to read it at my leisure -- I can dream, right?

This blog is a must read for me and I am very impressed it is celebrating 1700, and I enjoy the intelligent topics and the fact that backbloggers can agree to disagree in a dignified manner.

Determination, perseverance, patience, sense of humor, intelligence, openness to perspective, creativity, ability to link arms and support one another through the tough times, curiosity about the wider world, sexy and tough and feminine (or masculine on Manly Mondays) by turns, willingness to take chances . . . I'm sure I've left something out, but this is pretty much a description of Nancy (I know, everyone thought I was going to say Me, Margie--there's something to that, as well), and each of the Tarts, and I'm glad TLC has become one of my daily habits. Can't remember whether I found ya'll after reading Harley's first Wollie, or because of Laurie R. King mentioning TLC, but, I'm grateful for the cheerful gutsy-ness you and the backbloggers share each day. (Ah, yes, and the manly elegance and style our William, Al, Doc, Josh, Alan bring.) Write on, everyone! Thank you all.

As my niece said when I turned 40: "That is a big number".

1700 blogs is a lot of ideas. Want to guess how many comments? I'm going to look it up and get back to you.

In the mean time, let's talk Pittsburgh Cookie Table.

This tradition is not unique to Pittsburgh, but it's a staple of weddings and other celebratory gatherings here, so we'll take credit. I mean, it's a ton of cookies - what's not to like?

The Cookie Table is a banquet table filled with all kinds of cookies. I've seen cookie tables at weddings that are the longest tables in the room.

The relatives of the bride/groom/family start up to a year in advance, baking and freezing cookies. All kinds. Everything from ethnic treats like pizzelle and marzipan to your basic chocolate chip. This is a big, big deal. Many family members lay claim to a certain type of cookie, and no one else is allowed to make them.

The night before/day of the festivities, the cookies start to roll in. Already plated, usually. And the table starts to fill up. Sometimes, there are so many cookies that people get to take some home. In fact, I've been to weddings where the bride and groom have special boxes made up just for the extra cookies! We can't post photos in these comments, but here is the link to one:


Oh, man, now I need me some snickerdoodles!

Just ordered my copy from Mystery Lovers. I so enjoy this blog. I've found so many new authors and great books since I started reading the blog (around the time Elaine had her stroke). Hated to see the Blackbird sisters end but can't wait to meet Roxy.

I'm back from Trader Joe's. Bobby rec'd a balloon from the cashier, but it slipped off his wrist in the parking lot. Bye, bye, balloon! Good thing he's still young enough not to notice.

Thanks, Kathy, for the explanation of the cookie table. There's not just one "Pittsburgh cookie," Sheila, but a bazillion different kinds.--They're all small, bite-sized, and perfect for enjoying after the dancing has started at a wedding. (Sometimes, after the dinner and the cake and the coffee and all the wine, you just need a little bite of a cookie, right? With champagne, of course.)

So we'll have a cookie table next week at Mystery Lovers. Donations of cookies welcomed! (And my husband loves peanut butter and chocolate. Just saying.)

Anybody who thinks Her, Margie is watching hockey alone is due to buy some bridges in the desert.

Congrats on the 1700 blogs! Wish I could say I'd been here for every single one, but I have been here for the past 3 1/2 years at least. I started reading the blog a few months before Susan McBride bowed out.

My daughter and I RSVP'd to Mystery Lovers over a month ago for Roxy's coming out party and we plan to pick up our copy(s) then.

The Cookie Table is a Western PA/Eastern Ohio wedding/anniversary party/large occasion tradition whose origins seem to be shrouded by the passage of time. Some say it came from Italian-American weddings, but who knows. All I know is that by the mid 1970's if you didn't have a cookie table at a wedding you were in serious trouble with your friends and family no matter what ethnic background you came from or where your family sits on the economic scale. Fire Department Social Hall receptions and Country Club receptions all feature a cookie table.

A traditional cookie table is made up of contributions from your family and friends who all make their fanciest cookie recipes. Nowadays some choose to purchase their "Cookie Table Cookies". Depending how large the wedding there can be upwards from 100 dozen cookies to even 400 dozen. The largest amount I've ever made for a wedding is 150 dozen, but some people always go overboard.

Caterer's say you must plan on an average of 6 cookies per guest, but everyone always goes for more is better especially when they start thinking about all the varieties they want. These cookie varieties are what I always make for a wedding: Thumbprints, Chocolate Thumbprints, Chocolate Covered Truffles, Chocolate Covered Peanutbutter Balls, Lemon Snow Bars, Danish Puff, Iced Orange-Pineapple Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Hershey Kiss Cookies, Mint Surprise Cookies, 7 layer bars, Frosty Cherry Balls and Swedish Cream Wafers. A good variety of flavors is what a good cookie table should strive to achieve.

Here's a link to a a story about a cookie table gone amuck:

Hooboy, we're definitely not having hundreds of dozens of cookies next week. Unless Peach starts baking today!

Coffee and TLC start my day.
Nancy, your grandson is adorable.
I started reading Harley's entries last night and their were so entertaining and witty. I laughed out loud and did not pay much attention to Olympic events. Last week.I read Nancy's archives and believe me she is so entertaining. I am working on more reading.
Manly Men entries are so great..William's tribute to Robert B Parker was very memorable and touching too.
I will definitely be reading Roxy and congratulations on 1700 blog anniversay.
Roof problems are always nasty and we had water dripping on our kitchen table years ago. Any excuse to go out to eat.

I really really really want some cookies now.

Snickerdoodles and orange/pineapple Cookies. Yummm. I'm off to look up recipes for cookies.

And, I currently have 457 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my Garage!

Sorry about the roof, and I'll be buying the book the first week. Thank goodness the release date is so close ot a payday.

Cookie tables are not just for weddings. they appear at exclusive clubs abd firehalls.
Our late mayor Bob O'Connor held an annual "cookie cruise" on the Gateway Clipper to say thanks to all his supporters. Look for Roxy's to be a cross between celebrate and thank you.

Man, I wish I could be with you at MLB next week. Rats.

I can't remember how I found TLC, but I think it was early days of the blog. I read a lot of blogs every day (thank you RSS feeds) but I save TLC for 'dessert'. The subjects are provocative* and the wit is delicious -- it is the cookie table of blogs!

I wrote some bits of doggerel at one time, this is my best effort:

Worldly Woman
In this urban melieu of sophisticates,
Around the cliques and haute monde sets,
I aspired to become a provacatuese,
By using my wiles, ruses and insinues;
But, for all of my dagger and cloaking,
I was told I was just provoking.

Just talked to the insurance company. If we don't have water running down the inside of our house, does that make the claim more worthy? Or less? No water yet. But it hasn't rained since the disaster. Hm.

I always enjoy the terms that insurance companies deem worthy. Somehow God comes into the conversation. If the water damage is caused by a manmade disaster or a God inflicted disaster the insurance is doled out or not.
Somehow praying to God seems like good insurance to me when awaiting the claims adjuster.

Nancy, Roxy is going to buy you a new roof. You heard it here first! Yes, yes, yes. I'm one of the lucky early readers of "Our Lady of . . . " so I can say this with credibility.

And may I also say, with complete objectivity, that Bobby really is as spectacularly good-looking as you think he is.


This is not something that has hit the StL area big time. I have seen small versions, but nothing like that picture. WOW!

I started visiting about 6 months after Elaine's "troubles" to see how she was doing. And I've stayed. There is a wide variety in ages, economic statuses, and experiences, but we talk, argue laugh, and cry together with respect & love. The BlogMen lend us a little insight to the vast unknown of Testosterone Land and every little bit helps, lol.

Congrats on the new book, Nancy. Will be ordering mine soon. And thanks for all 1700 days. May many more be headed our way.

Congratulations on the milestone and thanks for providing a meeting place for so many interesting writers and readers. So sorry about the roof . . . and glad you had a grandson in arms to remind us all of what really matters. I'm off to Warm-Up-America meeting at the library -- then the Apple Store to learn stuff -- then to an Ayyam-i-Ha Cookie Party. Life is so . . . interesting and delicious!


You know what is so amazing? Of course you know the 25th anniversary is silver, and the 50th gold, and all that? Well, the 1700th is: BUY NANCY'S BOOK!!!

You have to admit, the world works in mysterious ways.

I bought three from MLB. One for me, one for my Mom, and one to give as in a prize basket in a charity auction!

Congrats the 1700 TLC!

Your grandson is a cutie.

Sorry about the roof. No one was hurt--a blessing. I'm sure you'll sell enough copies of your book to pay for the damage.

Be glad you didn't have that ice dam back water into the house to damage ceilings, floors, and walls, then proceed to the kitchen cupboards, counter tops, oven and stove--we had that happen quite a few years back. Our insurance company was not happy with us since they'd, the year before, paid a claim for smoke damage from the fire next door.

We've learned to open the attic door to warm the roof and melt the snow before it can dam up.

Looking forward to reading your new book!

If I could be there next week I would bring chocolate truffle cookies!

I will have to wait longer than you for Nancy's book, releases are always slower in Canada.

I also joined this blog shortly after Elaine had her stroke, glad she is better and so glad I found this blog. How else would I survive my workday . . .

Although I am relatively new to the blog, i relish it, and it warms up my morning. Congratulations on the 1700, so sorry about your roof-the house sounds interesting, though, I love old houses. Good thoughts for those who are ailing, and a smile for your adorable grandson. And Good luck on sales for Roxy,

Nancy, I just ordered OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION from Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I am really excited as this is my first order from this friendly store.
Looking forward to receiving it and devouring it.

Yikes! We're off to the Children's Musuem! I will definitely need a martini when we get home.

1700 and still as entertaining as ever.
I was also one of the lucky ones to preview Our Lady of Immaculate Deception and I love Roxy and can't wait for the next one!

The Tarts rock! I can't wait to get my copy of Nancy's book (Hank??), but will also be buying one to donate and/or to share.

I want Peach's cookies. Staring with the snickerdoodles.

Have a wonderful time at the launch party!!

Children's museums are so much fun. Now is that a vodka martini with a hint of vermouth or a straight gin one?

Oatmeal/chocolate chip is my cookie of choice. Is Mary Alice having a cookie table at the Festival of Mystery (Monday, May 3 in Oakmont PA)?


Peg, I'm going to remember to open the attic door, next time there's a big snow. Thanks for the tip! And here we've been so proud that our roof still had snow on it for a long time--proof of our good insulation. I guess it's a trade-off.

Grandson's 5th birthday was at The Imagination Station in Toledo this past Sunday. It's a way-cool children's science museum, and my daughter invited 30 kids! It was a madhouse, but they had a fantastic time, and so did we. She put on the invitation that everyone had to bring a parent, so I took my mommy, now 80 years old. She had as much fun as the kids did, I think. (And yes, I drove nearly 500 miles for a three-hour birthday party for a five-year old. You do that kind of goofy thing when you're a grandma.)

Bobby will enjoy this, but more as he gets older. I love how they include even the littlest kids in these museums. Hope you had fun with the little cutie-pie, Nancy!

You bet Nancy...I'm ordering out here to bring up your West Coast numbers...we have to help you pay for that roof!


congrats on 1700!! Elaine steered me to TLC when I kept whining about how much I missed her columns! LOL

Congratulations on 1700 posts. You have created something truly unique and precious with this blog. When I read one of the Tart's books, I truly feel a connection, like I'm reading something written by an old friend. I agree with Karen, it's fantastic marketing, but it works because the books are really worth reading. The quality of the writing both on the front and the back of the blog is outstanding. A day isn't complete without a visit.

Best wishes to Sarah and her family. Good luck with the roof Nancy. I hope there are many, many more posts to come.

Kerry, send your address (again!) to me, and I'll mail you the book! (I have 2 copies here that were supposed to go somewhere important. I bet your name fell off one of them!)

Happy day,
Happy day,
Roofing woes will go away,
Roxy's sales will not dismay!
-Burma Shave

Congrats to all the Tarts (and You, Margie . . . which also means congrats, to Steve, Steve, Sven, Steffan, Udo and a host too numerous to mention).

Nancy, I'll bet my name fell off that other book ;-)

Elaine led me here, too . . . she's just like the Pied Piper!

My friend's cookies rivaled those cookie tables, and she works alone!

Congratulations on 1700!!! And I think that I have been here from practically the beginning when both Sarah and Nancy were discussing it.

If I could be there for Roxy's party, I would definitely bring brownies, but since I cant? I will just make them for the next time that I see you. Any of you. LOL!

I always order week of, per a prior blog. :)

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