A Wicked Welcome to G.P. Gottlieb

by Julie, surviving the cold snap in New England

I am delighted to welcome G.P. Gottlieb to the blog today. The third book in her Whipped and Sipped Mystery series will be released on February 16.

A Few of My Favorite Things: Playing Piano, Baking, and Writing

I loved playing piano as a child, but when I got to the music school at Indiana University, it seemed like everyone else was a better musician. I still liked playing, but I got nauseated whenever I had to perform.  I finished my degree in piano and psychology and stopped playing.

Playing piano stopped making me happy.

I did my graduate degree in voice, worked in various musical and non-musical positions, and occasionally sat down to play, but it was frustrating because I’d lost the dexterity that I’d worked hard to achieve. Recently, after over thirty years, I’ve come back to it, and now I’m playing a little, nearly every day. I warm up my fingers and read through one Chopin prelude, one Bach fugue.

It makes me happy, playing piano again.

The children grew up, and just when the last one went off to college, I was diagnosed with cancer. It took over a year, but they eradicated it. During my recovery, I recognized that it was time to start doing those things I’d always dreamt of doing, while I still could. Like taking baking classes. Like writing a book. Even before the ordeal, I wrote a little every day – a poem, a song, a 500-page manuscript that meandered in all directions.

It makes me happy, writing.

I found a wonderful editor who helped me polish the pages of a mystery and guided me through the publishing process. We became good friends, and she invited me with two other writers to be part of an accountability squad. We try to meet each week to share what we’ve accomplished and commit to what we want to accomplish in the following week – it used to be in person, but for the past few years, we meet online. I came to love these women and value their distinct talents, their generosity, their warmth. I have them listed on my calendar as “Indispensables,” or “The Squad.”  

Having them in my life makes me happy.

After my first book was published, I joined Sisters in Crime Chicagoland. Soon after, I volunteered to do communications for the board, and I liked meeting other writers and writing engaging posts to encourage people to attend our events. Last year we decided to write welcoming letters to all our members.

Building new relationships makes me happy.

That’s how I met Tracey, who did her undergrad degree at Berklee College of Music (down the road from where I did my masters at New England Conservatory). She teaches piano, and her debut novel was published in 2019, the same year as my debut novel. We started emailing back and forth, and she let me read a draft of the follow-up book to her debut, which is now enticing me, sitting on my bed table). Tracey’s got writing chops, and as soon as it’s ready, I plan to recommend her follow-up novel to my publisher. I’ve already sent two authors to him.

It makes me happy, connecting people with each other.

Turns out that Tracey founded the Blackbird Writers, a group of crime and mystery authors who band together to support each other’s book marketing efforts. Tracey couldn’t have known that it was my dream to be in a supportive group of crime writers who review each other’s books, share each other’s good news, and jointly host a blog (among other things). When she invited me, I nearly wept with joy and immediately started downloading and reading my fellow Blackbird writers’ books.

It makes me happy, having a group of writing friends who support each other.

I hope I can continue playing piano, finding indispensable friends, connecting friends with each other, baking, being part of a group of colleagues, and writing murder mysteries. I wake up each day knowing that I’m going to make time for these and more of my favorite things, like stretching every morning while my husband reads out loud to me, cuddling on the sofa with a juicy novel, interviewing authors of literary fiction for the New Books Network, playing my guitar and singing only for myself, spending time with my adult children and cuddling with my daughter’s baby.

The world hasn’t been equally kind to everyone, and I wish I could bottle everything I’ve been blessed with; a loving family, an FDA approved cure for my cancer just a year before my diagnosis, the ability to live in warmth and comfort. I’d gladly pour it like wine for those who are struggling with loss, depression, loneliness, or poverty. I’d share it with those who are angry, seeking revenge, or unable to compromise.

If you’re battling any of that, I’d recommend that you focus on a few of your favorite things and do them every day. It could make you happy.

About the book:

Alene Baron is dealing with frustrated employees, closed schools, and a homeless man who harasses customers outside the door of her café. Then, two dead bodies turn up in the burned remains of buildings owned by the husband of Alene’s best friend and pastry chef, Ruthie. Both bodies are wearing jackets that once belonged to Ruthie and crumbled in the pockets are the café’s distinctive wrappers. At the same time, Alene’s uncle, a convicted felon, has resurfaced after disappearing for 22 years. It’s all too much for the owner of the Whipped and Sipped Café.

About G.P. Gottlieb:

GP Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series, which centers on a single mother of three who owns a fabulous vegan café in Chicago. Book #3, Charred: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery will be published Feb 21, 2023, by DX Varos Publishing. Gottlieb has performed, taught, composed, and administrated while writing stories, songs, and several unwieldy manuscripts. She also fed her family and developed lots of healthy recipes. After recovering from breast cancer in 2015, she turned to writing in earnest, melding her two passions: nourishment for mind and body and recipe-laced murder mysteries.

25 Thoughts

  1. Welcome to the blog, GP, from a fellow IU alum – PhD linguistics, 1981, and the Maxwell Hall on campus is named after my G-G-G grandfather! How wonderful you have found and been able to do the things that make you happy. Congratulations on the new book, too.

  2. Congratulations on the release of CHARRED! It sounds wonderful and one I most definitely would enjoy reading. I’ve added it to my TBR list.

    Oh I so agree with you that one can be so blessed and happy with things in our life that we just can’t help but share it with others. To me it’s baking, photography, reading and my large old bell collections. My Mom taught me how to enjoy being in the kitchen (and having a hubby who loves it too is another blessing) and then sharing the bound of my work with others, which brings both the giver and the recipient so joy. Hubby took up photography and then shared his joy with me. Now I know of no where else I’d rather be than trying to capture God’s beauty in his critters as my eye sees it in their natural habitat and being able to share the end result with others that may not be as fortunate to get out like that or who hadn’t taken the time to really look at all the beauty around us. I have a bell collection that started off with the little hand held ones. After running out of space inside, I started slowly collection large, very old bells for the yard. When someone comes, I enjoy explaining where each came from our their use and the history behind them from the fire wagon bell, the Navy ships bell, the Southern Pacific railroad bell of steam engine No. 979 and even two old church tower bells. I believe that to share our joy is almost as great as the joy itself.

    Won’t it be amazing if we could bottle our blessings! Besides being able to share ours, we could pour us a concoction from many different vials and experience it all.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. Love the book cover!!! Reading definitely makes me happy!! Love getting lost in a good book!

  4. Sounds like you are doing lots of things that make you happy. That’s wonderful! It’s those things that can turn a day around, right?

  5. I love that you (like me) find happiness in small things as well as big things. Enjoying life as it comes is what makes me happy. Thanks for a very uplifting post.

  6. Welcome to the Wickeds, GP! I’m glad you have found things that make you happy. Funnily enough, as I’ve aged, I’ve found that one of the things that makes me happy is that I’ve found the power to stop doing things that make me unhappy. That clears up time for the rest.

  7. Life is hard enough without all of the problems and politics of the world. We just need to live and love life and family. Yours was a great message and wonderful blog. I can’t wait to read your book and God bless you in all of your endeavors and health. I just try to take it one day at a time and see what brings me happiness in that day.

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