by Julie, summering in Somerville
I met Daryl years ago, when neither of us was published, at the New England Crime Bake. Since then she’s had series under her name and Avery Aames, and she’s also written stand-alone suspense thrillers. I’m delighted that she agreed to visit and tell us about her Fairy Garden Mystery series. Welcome Daryl!
HOW RESEARCH AND A GLASS OF ICE WATER RELAXES ME + GIVEAWAY
By Daryl Wood Gerber
Summer shouldn’t be stressful. But for an author with a deadline, it can be. So in order for my creative juices to flow freely, I need to do all I can to make sure I’m rested and relaxed. That starts with making sure my writing space is comfy. A glass of cold water (or possibly a hot cup of decaf coffee—I grind my own beans) and a comfortable chair. Next, the desk needs to be neat. Okay, fairly neat. I do keep my notes and outlines to one side of me, but if I feel crowded, that’s not good. Then I make sure I’m ready to go. No outstanding phone calls to make. No bills to pay. Finish the chores before I sit at the desk. Oh, sure, those might all get done-done—I am not THAT organized—but I have no reminders at my desk to hound me.
One of the things that really relaxes me when writing—something that can take me down a rabbit hole if I’m not careful—is research.
The other day I wanted to gather a few fairy quotes that I could use at the beginnings of my chapters. I must have spent two hours reading poetry . . . and smiling.
How can you not smile at this?
A little fairy in a tree
Wrinkled his wee face at me:
And he sang a song of joy
All about a little boy.
~ Moira O’Neill, “The Fairy Boy”
After I do my research, I dig into my writing . . . except sometimes I don’t because . . . it’s time to dress a few of my characters, so I spend an hour surfing the web looking at clothing. Courtney Kelly, the protagonist in the series, typically dresses casually in jeans and rompers. She runs the fairy garden shop and gets her hands dirty building fairy gardens, so unless she’s going out someplace, I’m often looking at denim and capris and fun T-shirts for her. However, her best friend Meaghan Brownie, who runs an art gallery, loves flowing bohemian dresses. Oh, man, I have so much fun shopping, I have to refrain from buying anything for myself.
Then I dig into my writing . . . except I don’t because . . . I need to pin down which tasty recipes I’ll feature in the book. Yes, I include recipes in my fairy garden mysteries. Why? Because at Open Your Imagination, the fairy garden shop, they serve tea on the weekends on the patio. What have I found on some of these research junkets? How about lemon lavender cupcakes? Oh, my, yes! Cinnamon swirl scones? Can you spell salivating? Caramel brownies? Yup! I have downloaded many a recipe to try and I will tweak as necessary.
Then I dig into my writing . . . except I don’t because I need to look at fairy garden pictures on Pinterest to inspire some of the creations Courtney will make, and . . .
You get the idea. Research can be relaxing, but an author must be careful. When my relaxing research is done, for real, I take a sip of my ice water, stretch my fingers, and let them hover over the keyboard. Yes, this time I’m ready to write and write freely. My mind is clear. I’ve filled it with images that inspire.
Readers: What beverage do you like to enjoy when you’re ready to relax? To truly relax? Is there a deep dive you do on the Internet that you find relaxing? I’m giving away a choice of the first two Fairy Garden Mysteries to one commenter. US and Canada only. I’ll pick a winner August 5.
Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Fairy Garden Mysteries, Cookbook Nook Mysteries, and French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Daryl loves to cook, fairy garden, and read. She has a frisky Goldendoodle who keeps her in line. And she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hitch-hike around Ireland alone.
A GLIMMER OF A CLUE debuted June 30 this year. It is the 2nd in the Fairy Garden Mystery series.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Courtney Kelly has a shop full of delights, a cat named Pixie, a green thumb—and a magical touch when it comes to garden design. But in Carmel-by-the-Sea, things aren’t all sweetness and fairy lights . . .
When Courtney’s friend Wanda gets into a ponytail-pulling wrestling match in public with a nasty local art critic, Courtney stops the fight with the help of a garden hose. But Lana Lamar has a talent for escalating things and creating tension, which she succeeds in doing by threatening a lawsuit, getting into yet another scuffle—in the midst of an elegant fundraiser, no less—and lobbing insults around like pickleballs.
Next thing Courtney knows, Lana is on the floor, stabbed with a decorative letter opener from one of Courtney’s fairy gardens, and Wanda is standing by asking “What have I done?” But the answer may not be as obvious as it seems, since Wanda is prone to sleepwalking and appears to be in a daze. Could she have risen from her nap and committed murder while unconscious? Or is the guilty party someone else Lana’s ticked off, like her long-suffering husband? To find out, Courtney will have to dig up some dirt . . .
DARYL’S CONTACT INFORMATION:
Have you signed up to receive my newsletter? I send one out every month and with a new release. In the monthly, there is always a GIVEAWAY to one (or more) subscribers. There’s always a recipe, a bit about Sparky, what I’m reading, etc.
Currently, I am sipping water as I have a fasting blood draw this morning, but usually, I am sipping whatever hot beverage I can tolerate at the moment. I have to limit caffeine, which has me down to one cup of heated milk with a spoonful of instant coffee added a day, a pot of tea made with a single bag, or an herbal blend, Bengal Spice being a favorite which I am out of at the moment.
Barbara, good luck with the blood draw. Never fun. ~ Daryl
So many congratulations, Daryl! At my desk I sip a dark roast coffee or water.
Edith, I love dark roast! ~ Daryl
Water. For a deep dive relax walking is the only thing that really relaxes me.
Anxious, I’m a walker, too. And a swimmer. Exercise definitely can clear the cluttered mind. ~ Daryl
I like a cold glass of iced tea, I brew a pitcher every other day, today’s choice is Raspberry Herbal iced tea. Lately, I’ve been searching for vacations within 4-6 hours of where I live.
Karen, that sounds like a great idea. Even looking for vacation sites can be relaxing, don’t you think? ~ Daryl
In the summer, I like to put my feet up and relax with sparkling water or iced tea. And then read, of course! JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com
JH, I agree. Reading is one of the most relaxing things in the world. As long as it’s for fun. ~ Daryl
I enjoy drinking iced coffee by the pool while reading. Or at the beach. That’s my favorite way to relax. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway1 pgenest57 at aol dot com
Qnofdnilesblog (okay, that’s a mouthful!) Reading beside water anywhere is relaxing to me. Even a fountain. ~ Daryl
Congratulations, Daryl – what a delightful fairy poem excerpt. I agree about research – a fun rabbit hole, and a creative spark. My deep relaxation drink is a glass of red wine. I rarely indulge so it remains special.
Kait, I do like a glass of wine at night. And a book. That’s when I really relax. When work is done. ~ Daryl
During the summer, a nice cold glass of lemonade. At other times, a mug of hot chocolate.
Dru, isn’t it funny how hot chocolate just doesn’t seem to cut it in the midst of summer? I can do lemonade any time of the year. LOL ~ Daryl
My go-to relaxation drink is a cup of hot tea. English Breakfast in the morning, but I like a nice Darjeeling or something lighter in the afternoon.
Liz, both teas sound lovely. ~ Daryl
Green tea is my relaxation drink and reading is my deep-dive relaxation technique. Well, plus surfing through YouTube videos (monkeys, birds, Hot Ones tasting challenges…that’s petty deep, right? 😁). I think I should research fairy gardens, I don’t have any, but your photo of one looks so cute! Thanks for letting us know your research process!
Kathy, sounds like you are plenty busy. YouTubes of monkeys? I must try those! ~ Daryl
For relaxing, wine is always the beverage of choice. But that is not conducive to work. For work there is always water and lots of it. As for research, I’m with you! It’s what gets my mind in the right place and time (and in the right shoes) as I headed into the booth to give voice to an author’s characters. Lastly, every time I hear “fairy garden,” I am reminded of the parlor song I’ve often performed, “There are Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden” (poem by Rose Fyleman, composed by Liza Lehmann – a favorite classical music composer of mine BTW). If you aren’t familiar with it, Beatrice Lillie recorded it and it’s readily available on YouTube. Looking forward to starting your fairy garden series. Cheers!
Anne Marie, I’m definitely checking this out. Thanks for the tip. As for wine, yes, that’s an end of the day event for me. LOL ~ Daryl
My two go to drinks are Diet Pepsi or diet citrus green tea.
Hubby and I love photography – especially critters. We are blessed to have a wide array of daily critter visitors that give us subjects to photograph, but we also enjoy traveling to new place or old favorites (before Covid) where we could photograph other types of critters and do some landscapes. I started out researching the animals in order to make me understand their habits and actions to photograph them better. The more I dug the more I wanted to find out. I feel I can now get better photographs because I know what to expect like flight patterns, reproduction times and events and food sources. As I started posting my photos, I would add what I call my tidbits. Now it’s pretty much expected for me to say something about that animal be it factual, folklore or just a funny item. So my research continues daily to find more and more information to educate me and entertain those that see my photo posts. And you’re right you can lose track of time doing research because one thing leads you to another and you hate to stop because you fear you won’t ever find that particular string again.
Love your books! Please keep them coming. <3
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Kay, thanks so much for the compliment. And I love your photos. Keep those coming, too! ~ Daryl
Ah, a nice cup of tea will do for me. I can’t drink caffeine after noon, so I switch to herbal. The Fairy Garden Mystery series are appealing, especially now that I know they include recipes.
Susan, I can’t ever drink caffeine. My coffee is decaf. Okay, yes, there’s probably some caffeine in it, but wow, if I have a full glass of caffeine? Watch out! Hectic energy for days! LOL ~ Daryl
I like either a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I love all your books. Don’t enter me in the drawing as I have already bought, read and reviewed them. Just wanted to pop in and say hi. You keep writing and I will keep reading.
Laurie, you are so sweet. You have been an absolutely delightful fan! Thank you. All authors need more of you. ~ Daryl
My go-to beverages are cold water and hot chocolate! I totally understand about the research…it is too much fun sometimes. Happy Writing!
Judy, thanks. Yes, research can be fun. And shouldn’t writing (work) be fun, after all? ~ Daryl
I loved reading about your process! I start the day with cold water, but if it’s late afternoon or evening, I love a glass of sparkling wine!
Sherry, thanks for chiming in. Cold water! Our bodies need it. And then a glass of bubbly? That sounds like fun. ~ Daryl
Hi, Daryl, it’s been a while! I know it is easy to get into research too deep, but it beats the alternative: writers who fake it with no research, so good for you!
I wish you all the best with this and have it in mind for a great read!
Tonette, I do my best not to fake it, but um, gee, sometimes, I guess I have to. Don’t we all? Thanks for your comments. ~ Daryl
I do drink a lot of water, but for relaxing it’s a cup of tea (or iced tea in hot weather) with a lemon wedge. One of my favorites is a blood orange rooibos. If socializing with friends maybe a glass of white wine or prosecco.
Not a lot of research needed these days, but it’s so easy to look up one thing on the Internet & go down a rabbit hole of related sites!
Judith, the mystery writer in me leaped on the name blood orange rooibos. I’ll have to check that out. Great name for whatever it is! LOL ~ Daryl
I basically drink tea all day long. When I want something fizzy, it’s flavored seltzer.
Mary, I have friends who live on flavored seltzer! ~ Daryl
Welcome to the Wickeds, Daryl. In the mornings I drink two giant cups of coffee. However, my writing time is the afternoon. I am not a fan of water, but my daughter recommended a flavoring you can put in water that is not too sweet and has almost no calories and that’s what I’ve been consuming mostly has I write.
I drink tea. The brand is not important to me. I use the regular black tea that I buy in either Walmart or the supermarket. I do not add sugar, but I MUST have my French Vanilla creamer!
Patricia, that French Vanilla creamer is a keeper. Enjoy. ~ Daryl
Barbara, I have a few friends who can’t do water, so I get it. Those flavor packets, which do not change the chemistry of the water, are great for people like you. ~ Daryl
I drink mostly water, but my favorite drink is lemonade, especially if it is flavored. I have read the first of this Erie’s—my first fairy read and I enjoyed it.
Linda, flavored lemonade. Hm. Isn’t lemonade the flavor? LOL I’m so glad you enjoyed A SPRINKLING OF MURDER. 🙂 ~ Daryl
For normal relaxing with a book, I drink tea. In the evening it’s a glass of sangria.
Brenda, how exotic. Sangria. That sounds delicious for the summer. ~ Daryl
My morning sip is coffee, usually flavored. I have recently found a 10 calorie lemonade packet to add to a bottle of water so that has become my new afternoon drink. An occasional “nightcap” does happen.
Emily, that’s what so many of my friends drink. They add a packet and down goes the water. Good for you. ~ Daryl
Coffee, straight coffee, black, no flavor added, no cappuchino, just coffee and a book.
Terry, when I was a student in Germany and drank my coffee black (I now mix it up and sometimes have black and sometimes with cream), my German “mother” said “Schwarz macht hubsch.” It means black makes beautiful. So, according to her, anyone who drank coffee black without additives was beautiful! LOL ~ Daryl
My drink of choice is iced tea with lemon, all year long, not just in the summer. I enjoyed “A Sprinkling of Murder” and I’m looking forward to reading “A Glimmer Of A Clue”.
Dianne, thanks so much for telling me. I love hearing that readers are enjoying the series. ~ Daryl
My go to is coffee ☕ or a mocha cold brew. When I’m really stressed I play sims4 and create characters from my writings.
Angela, that sounds like fun! ~ Daryl
I tend to drink water. Not sure how relaxing it is, but I don’t think of beverages as relaxing. 🙂 (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)
Mark, LOL. Beverages can be totally relaxing. A long, soothing sip of something. Taking your mind off the business at hand for even a brief minute? Thanks for chiming in. ~ Daryl
Love a nice Rum and diet coke to relax. Reading out on my lanai is my deep dive way to relax.
Vicki, absolutely sitting and reading is the best way to relax! ~ Daryl
Hi Daryl, your book sounds so very intriguing and I love, love your book cover, it is beautiful! I love my coffee and I also drink sweet tea. I love to work in my garden for relaxation , it relaxes me and my husband and I also walk our pup every morning. I love to read on our couch or outside on our patio swing, while listening to the birds singing and seeing hummingbirds or butterflies on the flowers. Thank you so much for sharing about your book and everything you do while writing your book all your research and everything else. Have a great week and stay safe.
Alicia, sitting on your patio sounds idyllic to me! Love the birds and butterflies and flowers. Heaven. ~ Daryl
I don’t have a “relaxing” drink or deep dive. But Ancestry.com is my rabbit hole. I’ll do a search for someone and in the results I’ll see a reference that’ll make me think “oh, I should check here for these people” and it just keeps going like that. A “quick” search can easily turn into 4 or 5 hours, or more. And out of all of that time I’m happy if I find just one little scrap of new information.
SM – I haven’t done Ancestry.com, but a few family members have, and the deep dive is intense! LOL Some real surprises, too. ~ Daryl
Yes, I have found some whoppers.
First off, I love your books. Congratulations on another wonderful series! As for relaxing, I prefer TV. A diet Pepsi, some chocolate, and my DVR’ed Jeopardy shows that I never seem to catch up on.
Violet, thank you for the compliment. Truly appreciated. As for Jeopardy…relaxing? I think not. I’m so tense trying to answer first ( and failing). LOL ~ Daryl
I like to have green tea when relaxing.
RD, I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted green tea. Must try it after all these comments. ~ Daryl
Hot tea most every morning, and a glass of ice water by me the rest of the day. However, I need iced tea for summer afternoons. I’d like the second book, please. I’m anxious to see what the fairies get up to.
Sally, thanks for chiming in. Iced tea on a summer afternoon sounds heavenly. ~ Daryl
Actually I love hot chocolate with whipped cream, my rocking chair (it is over 40 years old and still working – I would rock my sons to sleep with they were babies and small), and a nice fire in the fireplace. It can be snowing or raining outside but I am in my comfortable place and so does not bother me.
Aw, Sherrie, a rocking chair and hot chocolate sounds so soothing. ~ Daryl
I enjoy a cup of decaffienated tea, usually something with ginger. Although some enjoy chamomille, I’ve never found a like for it.
Robeader, I’m sort of with you on that. Chamomile has never been a flavor I love. I do enjoy ginger. Especially ginger ale. 🙂 ~ Daryl
My go to drink is diet Dr. Pepper. I love the taste and the bite of the carbonation. My favorite is either the cherry one or cream soda and sometimes I’ve mixed them so I have diet cherry cream soda Dr. Pepper. Loved the first book.
Tina, I love Dr. Pepper, even though I’m not a soda drinker. I also enjoy a good root beer. ~ Daryl
I enjoy drinking ice water and iced tea. Thank you so much. God bless you.
Debbie, thanks for the blessing. Always appreciated. 😉 ~ Daryl
Mandarin orange seltzer water or ginger tea, depending on the WX.
Ginny, the mandarin orange seltzer sounds lovely. ~ Daryl
Alcoholic summer beverage is a pina colada and non alcoholic is ice water or iced tea. I love Harney and Sons Blood Orange iced tea especially.
Cherie, piña coladas are so delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever had one other than in Hawaii.
I live in sunny Northern CA! I enjoy unsweetened iced tea all year long!
Linda, isn’t it interesting that sweetened iced tea is a regional thing! ~ Daryl
I do enjoy a glass of fresh lavender lemonade but that’s a real treat, Ice tea or a glass of wine it all depends on my mood.
I enjoy lavender lemonade as a real treat but usually it’s ice tea or a nice glass of wine.
Kim, I’ve never had lavender lemonade. I make lavender lemon cupcakes. Does that count? ~ Daryl
In the morning I will drink a cup of coffee. The rest of the day is water. I always have I always have iced water to drink when I’m relaxing on my patio reading a great book!!!
Thanks for the chance and congrats on your book!!!
B – iced water on the patio and a book. Ahhh. ~ Daryl
I love my black coffee in the morning always on the front porch.
Congratulations on your new book. Love your newsletters and Sparky!!!
Thank you for the giveaway!!!
Sherry, thanks so much and thanks for the shout out to Sparky. 🙂 ~ Daryl
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