June 27, 2008


Updated list of my recent blog stops, upcoming interviews and in-person events for June and July '08. The list is also updated regularly at my website news page.

June/July 2008 Events:

* Vote for Searching For A Starry Night as BEST COVER to JULY 31 at ErinAislinn.com.

* Featured Guest Author, Stories For Children Magazine

Best Friend's Story


* New Contest to July 4! See details, Candid Canine post.

* July 8 - Cynthia's Attic Blog

* June 27 - The Stiletto Gang

* June 24: New review, great plug for art & minis! at BlogBookTours.

* June 19: Even Grandmas Approve! See Terrie Moran's glowing words about reading a mystery by me and Chris Grabenstein! at the Women of Mystery blog.

* June 17 - Miniaturist & Mystery author Margaret Grace and I trade blogs and questions. Comment to enter our contest. See my collection and answers at the Killer Hobbies blog. See her miniatures and my interview here at Candid Canine.

* June 15 - Elysabeth's Stories Blog

* June 11 - Mayra's Secret Bookcase

* INTERVIEW at the Acme Authors Blog

* Searching For A Starry Night - March '08 Cover Winner at the New Covey Cover Awards. Thanks!


* Aug 14, Thurs, 7-8 p.m., Cafe' Book, 395 Lake St., Antioch, IL, 847/395-2223. Stop in for a snack, coffee and discussion!

* July 13, Sun, 2-5 p.m.Book Signing & Discussion at Down the Rabbit Hole, 5709 7th Ave., Kenosha WI, 262/656-1515.

* July 12, 12-6, 8th Annual Unity Fest, Drake Field, Elgin, IL. Doxie races and more, sponsored by the Midwest Dachshund Rescue


New cool interview with me about my new children's mystery, SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A Miniature Art Mystery, at The Stiletto Gang today - check out the cool slide show and why I LOVE platforms!

See the full list of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT Interviews and Blog stops at my website news page.

June 25, 2008


A good word on the art and miniatures in SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT at BlogBookTours. Check it out!

June 20, 2008

Searching For A Starry Night - Favorite of Grandmas!

Apparently even grandmas can't wait to read to their grandkids about the exploits of Sam, Lita and Dachshund, Petey, in my children's mystery, Searching For A Starry Night! And that's besides reading Chris Grabenstein's new ya adventure. wow, how cool is that!

Check out the post made by Terrie Moran today at the Women of Mystery blog. Thanks, Terrie!

June 16, 2008

MURDER IN MINIATURE: Meet author Margaret Grace

Today I’m talking with Margaret Grace, author of MURDER IN MINIATURE, the first book in the new Miniature Mysteries series, released in Feb. 2008. MAYHEM IN MINIATURE will be published in August '08.

For fun, Margaret and I are “trading blogs” today. We’ve both answered the same questions, talk about our books, and share our miniatures.

Read the interview I did with her here and then read her interview with me at the Killer Hobbies blog. Make a comment or ask a question at both blogs and your name will be entered to win free books and miniature scenes from both of us! (My miniature party table scene below).

BONUS: Sign up for my free periodic newsletter (link at right) and get your name entered to win a mini copy of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A Miniature Art Mystery!!

Publications: Margaret is author of eight books in The Periodic Table Mysteries, written under her birth name, Camille Minichino.

Favorite Quote:

I like to use metaphors that fit the setting and theme of my books. In "Murder in Miniature" I say of one of Gerry's ill-tempered friends:

Misfortune followed Linda like a string of glue from a low-end glue gun.

(This has the double advantage of (slight) humor, and also an "inside joke" for miniaturists.)

(Pictured: A crime scene: Margaret did it in the bedroom with a cane. this went to silent auction at Forensics U in St. Louis last year. The carpet is sandpaper. Did you know it comes in many colors now? I use green for lawns, blue for carpeting ...)

Tell me about you and your collection:

My bio looks like a copy and paste from several different people. I'm very undisciplined and move from one career/interest to another. NO, wait. I don't move; I keep them all, accumulating new ones and not getting rid of the old. I've been a research physicist, a human factors engineer, a teacher, a miniaturist, a writer ... I started a small business a few years ago -- I produced bibs and Frisbees with pictures of Einstein, Curie and Marconi (as alternative to puppies and kitties.)

Once when I was between jobs, I applied to be a temp. I flunked the typing test and ended up working in a factory, making little plastic washers. Fortunately, that didn't last too long. Now, after writing 11 novels plus a few million other words, I think I could pass that typing test.

Is your main character someone you'd want to invite over to "play with" and why?

I'd love to have a crafts day with Gerry. She has more tools!

What does your character have that you wish was yours - and will you make it in real life?

I would love to have Gerry's Bronx apartment and might make one! The way to distinguish it would be to paste postcards with city views in the windows so it looks like it's really in the Bronx. I love the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, too ... Oh oh, I'm singing.

What's your next mini project or what's in progress?

I'm doing a bathtub reading scene ... trying to figure the best way to do bubbles. I'm also trying to decide whether to have a body in it. Maybe just an arm. Minis and crime just seem to go together, don't they?

What’s your dream miniature project you hope to make one day?

Marie Curie's laboratory, where she stirred a giant pot with molten pitchblende. It was in an open shed, so it fits the "dollhouse" style perfectly. Right?

How’d you begin writing books? What’s your degree and education?

Writing novels came up to number 1 on my to-do list, so I got to it. I have a PhD in physics, plus assorted classes in philosophy, theology, and literature.

What inspired your mystery novel – and why use miniatures?

I want my whole life to appear in one form of writing or another. Like Isaac Asimov, who never had an unpublished thought..

(Pictured: The miniature museum)

Did you have a dollhouse (or other minis) in childhood?

It was my main "toy" as a kid. My cousin, a few years older, would play with me. We'd decorate and cut out flowers from old greeting cards and put them on the wall. It was a magic time. She's still my favorite cousin!

If a cyclone/fire/tsunami, etc were coming, what one miniature would you take with you when you evacuated and why?
What’s special about it?

One of the most fun projects I did was creating the mortuary. The casket is an empty box of staples. I painted it, then wrapped fabric around another covered box and used it as the stand. For the rest, I had to improvise and use things in different ways. I bought two dining room sets, for example, and used only the chairs, in rows, for the visiting parlor. The wallpaper is dark scrapbooking paper.

For the apartment upstairs (as in the Periodic Table mysteries,) I used a tiny glide rocker that matches one in my own living room.

How did you research the book? Did you do anything different?

In "Murder in Miniature" I created a fictional town, Lincoln Point, CA. I've been doing Lincoln research (the town is obsessed with Abe and Mary Todd) and having a great time. I read all the Lincoln-Douglas debates to set the scene in the third one in the series, which I just finished.

What’s your craft background?

In keeping with my scattered nature, I try everything. One year I took classes in cartooning so I could draw our Christmas card with caricatures of me and my husband. Another year I did beading and put a tiny beaded necklace on photos of all my friends and sent them to them for birthdays or other occasions. For Christmas ‘07 I knitted tiny scarves and put them around a drawing of Frosty the Snowman. I made 100 of them, then gave up as the deadline approached, and did the other 200 with strands of yarn, not knitted!

Your next book is:

"Mayhem in Miniature" is due August 2008. The main setting is an upscale retirement home in Lincoln Point where Gerry teaches crafts.

Describe your craft room - where do you work on minis? C’mon show us!

What’s your worst crafting/miniatures moment?

Who hasn't super-glued their fingers together?? Or spilled paint on a pair of good pants? Worst project result: I tried to make a tiny (3" sq) quilt by cutting tiny squares of fabric and gluing onto a piece of fabric backing. Bad idea! The tiny squares are raggedy and threads show everywhere. Not even a pot of glue could help. I now use it as coaster in my office.

Margaret, thanks for being such a good sport and sharing your books – and your minis – with us!

Now, it's your turn, readers! Anything you’re dying to know about her miniatures or books? Now’s your chance to ask (and maybe win a book or prize!) so ask a question or post a comment!! Don't forget to see my story at her blog, too!

Searching For A Starry Night - IT'S HERE!


Look what the UPS man brought me today!!

Pre-order now at Amazon.com!

June 13, 2008

Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery - in miniature!

Look who's reading "Searching For A Starry Night"!

Even the lady from my Teapot Shoppe was excited to get a glimpse of Searching For A Starry Night - to be released JUNE 15!!

(But you can pre-order now! See Amazon link at right.)

The miniature book was made by Lee Ann Borgia of LABH Miniatures - (see 6/12 entry).

** Want your own copy?? Take a chance to win a signed copy of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT (life-size) and get your hat thrown in the ring to win the miniature copy too!

*** See details and contest rules at my blog below - or at my website news page.

June 12, 2008

Miniaturist of the Month: Miniature Books by Lee Ann Borgia

Note: Lee Ann made a wonderful miniature collector's edition of chapter 1 of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT for my contest; see link. Photo coming as soon as it arrives in the mail. So check back and enter!

Today I'm talking with noted miniaturist Lee Ann Borgia of LABH Miniature Books. Lee Ann is a New Jersey maker of a series of miniature book replicas covering children's classics like Raggedy Ann and Andy, to vintage paper dolls, and tomes that will add the finishing touch to that haunted miniature library or medieval castle.

Lee Ann began collecting miniatures 28 years ago and started her business in the usual way - she needed books for her own project, A Gentlemen's Study. "The kind of books I wanted were too expensive for me," she says.

Given that her gentlemen's room (still in progress) contains three walls of floor to ceiling shelves to fill, her reticence is understandable.

Invention having always been the boon of creation, Lee Ann started reading up on bookbinding. She did some experimenting, and with adaptations for size, developed a method for making miniature books using traditional bookbinding techniques.

Her selection includes a 31/32" high volume of Shakespeare's works, to a delightful 11/16" wide copy of Johnny Gruelle's 'Raggedy Ann in Cookie Land', to a charming volume of Beatrix Potter's children's stories barely larger than a dime. Even the so-called "economy" (blank inside) books in various categories form gardening (1875 Garden Almanac), to classics by Louisa May Alcott ('Little Women'), the Raggedy Ann and Andy books, vintage children's books, and more, will add that certain "something" to a miniature scene with their realism. Prices range from $3 for economy books, to $19.50 and up for Shakespeare and certain editions, to hundreds of dollars for full sets.

(Pictured: Medieval Bestiary)

The results are charming, accurate editions, perfect for that dollhouse library, den, children's room or your favorite bookshelf. Lee Ann now has enough titles in her repertoire to fill even her miniature study shelves (if she ever gets to make them all!)

"I believe I now make 400 different book titles, not counting what I call economy books (with blank insides)," she says.

(Pictured: Chris' Raggedy Ann Room - for fun I've included a pic of the room I made which features Lee Ann's great books. And a closeup of the bookshelf.)

Four hundred - and counting

Make that 400-plus books.

Lee Ann just finished her Shakespeare collection - all 37 plays, plus a book of Sonnets and another book of Selected Poetry. Other new additions include Beowulf in Olde English and Edgar Allen Poe's classic poem, The Raven. Of special note is her 25-book set of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." Each tale is featured in its own volume in Olde English with woodcuts. It is sold only as a complete set. Medieval books are also popular and realistic.

(Pictured: 13th Century Bible)

Always a "crafty" person, Lee Ann began sewing as a child and progressed to making most of her own and her daughter's clothes, She later learned some custom tailoring, and did both full-size and miniature crochet. Bookmaking (not the betting kind :>)) was another technique for her to learn and soon master.

"I love the design part of making a book work in miniature," she says. "I do a lot of computer manipulation for covers, but the greatest joy is when everything comes together and I hold the finished book in my hands."

With so many volumes to choose from, it's not surprising that Lee Ann has a hard time picking any one favorite.

"Oh dear, that's impossible for me to answer," she admits. "I love my medieval books--the artwork is fantastic. I've done some reading on the techniques used and am fascinated. But I also loved doing 'The Canterbury Tales.' Some of the children's books are so charming that I am enthralled. I also had a wonderful time doing my wizard books."

(Pictured: "Magical Poison Potions")

But if she had to pick just one favorite book... Well, maybe it was the one that she got the biggest kick out of: "I think the most fun was writing 'Magical Poison Potions.' Of course my family was sure I had finally gone over the edge as I kept laughing as I wrote it."

She needn't have worried. Laughter is surely the sign of a good book.

* For more information, contact Lee Ann at LBorgia993@aol.com.

* I'd love to hear your comments! Have a miniature book in mind? Make a suggestion and maybe Lee Ann will add it to her offerings!

June 11, 2008

Searching For A Starry Night - Contest & Blog Stops!

The SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT Blog Stops have begun!

** Today: Stop by Mayra's Secret Bookcase for an interview with me.

Searching For A Starry Night - CONTEST 1
* Take a chance to win a signed copy of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT - ** and a special miniature collector's edition of chapter one of my book made by Lee Ann Borgia of LABH Miniature Books.
*** Be sure to check back tomorrow to read an interview with this amazing artist - and see a photo of this unique prize (I'm waiting for it to arrive by mail!) ***

Contest 1 RULES:
* 1. Sign up for my periodic newsletter; link here at my blog and on my website on the Starry Night page.
* 2. Answer 3 questions relating to miniatures and chapter 1 of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT - answers and chapter to download can be found on my website.
* 3. Email answers to all 3 questions (copy and paste) with your full mailing address via the email on the CONTACT Page at my website, http://cverstraete.com/contact.html .
4. Contest ends JULY 4. Names will be matched to newsletter list; any entries that didn't follow rules or sent to any other email will be disqualified.
- Have Fun and Good Luck!!!

Contest 1 Questions:
* Question 1: What is the name of the typically English item found on the table in my teapot shoppe? (Hint: there are 2 pages)
* Question 2: Van Gogh sold how many works in his lifetime?
* Question 3: Sam doesn't like the idea of working where?

June 01, 2008

Searching For A Starry Night June Events

Upcoming events for JUNE:



  * Featured Guest Author, Stories For Children Magazine

  * New interview at the YA (Young Adult) Books Central

  * Searching For A Starry Night is listed under New Next Month at
Mystery Lover's Corner
(See New This Month in July)

  * Sam from SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT tells her
Best Friend's Story

  * Featured Book Cover at Erin Aislinn's website, week of June 2


  * June 11 - Mayra's Secret Bookcase

  * June 12 - Elysabeth's Stories Blog

  * June 27 - The Stiletto Gang

* INTERVIEW at the Acme Authors Blog

  * Searching For A Starry Night - March '08 Cover Winner at the New Covey Cover Awards. Thanks!


  * June 14, Sat.,10-4, Authorfest

Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 South Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, IL

  * June 21, Sat., 10-4, Woofstock!

Lambs Farm,14245 W. Rockland Road,(I-94 & Rte. 176), Libertyville, IL

  * July 12, 12-6, 8th Annual Unity Fest, Drake Field, Elgin, IL. Doxie races and more, sponsored by the Midwest Dachshund Rescue