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Posts tagged ‘Bunco’

The Corn Plant Saga by Julie B. Cosgrove

People have asked me to tell this true story. It’s long, but here goes….

Back in 1974, I bought a small corn plant at a local nursery because, well in the 70’s, everyone had a jungle in their apartment. But it didn’t thrive, so I put it in the bathroom to get more moisture. Every time my to-be-hubby came over, he’d been down, waggle his finger and tell the scrawny four-leafed heap, “You better grow, little guy, or I’ll make her pitch you out.” Yes, we talked to our plants back then. It was a 1970’s thing.

Fast forward through the years. We moved twenty-two times in thirty-three of them, and the corn plant was always last on the truck and first off. Then in 2005, we had to leave because of Katrina. All of our salvageable items were put in a storage pod and sent to San Antonio. Only some of our clothes, the “very breakables” and our prized possessions (well, and the cats) would travel with us. People from our church gathered to help us pack and bid us farewell. Corn plant by then was over seven feet tall…a scrawny-trunk thing we tied to the wall with string and thumb tacks.  No way would it survive months in a storage unit. Six men stood in our garage constructing a container to house the plant, which would travel in the bed of my husband’s truck. Using cardboard and plywood they encased it as if it was Michelangelo’s David.

As I followed in my car, I watched through the windshield wipers as the the wet winds whacked the carefully plotted-out tower. When we crossed the border into Texas, I gasped as it bent into a jack-knife. Tears welled. For three hundred more miles it bounced and bowed toward the bed of the truck. About 1 a.m. we arrived at my family cabin in the Texas Hill Country, which would be home until he found a new job. That’s when my husband analyzed the damage. I blubbered as he dismantled what remained of the tower and confirmed my worst fears. All the angst over the past few days following the hurricane poured down my cheeks. I took the top of the plant and jammed it into a gallon jug, filled it with  water, and set it by the window. My husband, instinctively knowing not to question my futility, carried in the pot with the bare trunk and plopped it next to the same window. Somehow, we just couldn’t toss it down into the ravine gully.

The snippet grew roots inside the plastic jug. Hubby found a job in Florida, so we moved – this time with plant-jug steadied on the floor board of my car. We left the scraggly trunk behind. Later my cousin opened the cabin for the spring and found it had sprouted! She kept watering it and the next summer we snipped it off the trunk, jugged it, and took it back to Florida. Now we had two corn plants, side by side in the same pot.

My son no longer lives with me, but often when he comes over, he bends down, looks at the corn plant and says, “Well, I guess God wants us both to live a bit longer. Lookin’ good, plant.”

On the “bad days” when my chronic pain gets to me, I see the lush green plant and it helps me put things in perspective. It is as if God is telling me He still wants me to “bloom where I am planted.”

In 2008, we moved back to Texas. For reasons I will not go into, my husband developed medical problems and grew more and more ill. During this time, one of the corn plants wouldn’t thrive. It’s leaves were lighter in color, the other was lush and green. As he diminished, so did the plant. One by one the leaves yellowed and withered. I planted it in it’s own pot but no amount of soil, food or horticultural care would stop it’s decline. Eventually, two years later, the scraggly one died. The last leaf dropped off. It left me with an eerie feeling, to be realized forty-eight hours later when my husband died in the shower getting ready for work.

I moved with the healthy one to an apartment, and my son later moved in with me to ease my widowhood. Lo and behold, a “shoot” began to grow off the surviving corn plant. An offspring. Here is the plant today, June 2017.

More About the Author:

Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an Internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here. The interview with author Julie B. Cosgrove can be found here.

Interview with Julie B. Cosgrove, Author of Baby Bunco

Today’s guest on Inner Source is author Julie B Cosgrove. Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

Welcome to Inner Source, Julie. I’m so glad to have you here today. My first question has to be about the game of Bunco. In your cozy mysteries, I get an idea of how the game is played, but how did you come up with it as a backdrop for a cozy mystery series?

Thanks, Fay. I am honored to be asked to be here. I play Bunco with other Christian ladies whenever I can, so it seemed like a different theme…and a fun way to bring in all the characters.

A senior community in Texas is also a very good backdrop and allows you to create some sweet and quirky little characters. Did this setting spring from any experience or did you just make it up and run with it?

I had a book booth at a festival several years ago at one of these graduated retirement communities and toured their facilities. These communities are really popping up as all of us Baby Boomers get up in years. So I asked an editor at a writers’ conference, where I was holding a workshop, if that would be a unique setting. Her eyes lit up, so I went with it. The first in the series, Dumpster Dicing, came out in August, 2016 and won Best Cozy Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors.

In Baby Bunco, the mystery deals with quite a serious subject. I don’t want to give the story away because it is definitely worth the reader waiting to find out what’s going on. In the backdrop of this sleepy little area, which I understand is growing but sits out away from some the metropolises in that area of Texas, do you find a lot of crime to draw from in your stories?

We raised our son in one of these bedroom communities in Central Texas, and as it grew (from 4,500 to 50,000 in eleven years), our security and sense of safety diminished.  It became “new territory” for crime gangs whereas those territories are often well established and marked out in metropolitan areas. Also because these towns are spread out, it is easier for the crime syndicates to go unnoticed, believe it or not.

And I have to ask this one because I interviewed her on Monday. Janie is a former police officer’s wife, and she’s pretty handy with getting herself into trouble while doing some pretty mean investigative work. Is Janie based upon someone in your life?

No, not really. I think she is a composite of who I’ll want to be in another decade or so, along with some pretty gutsy Texas matrons I have known through the years. I basically wanted to show that just because you have gray hair, it doesn’t mean you have dementia or are feeble. With many folks living well into their eighties and nineties, seventy is the new forty.

I know that you have a new novel in the series which is about to be released. Would you like to tell us a little about it? When can we expect it? I’d also love to hear about any other works in progress we can look forward to seeing from you.

There are two more Bunco Biddies Mysteries under contract, in various stages of being edited and proofed.

Threes, Sixes and Thieves, God willing, will launch later this summer. The publisher has had scheduling and staff issues. I chose the title because when three sixes are rolled in Bunco the game ends. But “Three Sixes” didn’t exactly work for a Christian fiction title (for obvious reasons.) So the Editor in Chief came up with the new title.

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

Early in 2018, number four, ‘Til Dice Do Us Part releases. Yes, Bunco Biddies fans, there is a wedding in the works at Sunset Acres. But while decorating for the bridal shower, Ethel falls from a ladder. While in the ER, she overhears a crime being plotted. Janie believes her, but will anyone else? When the two of them get the groom-to-be involved in their hospital sleuthing to keep him from seeing the bride on their wedding day, he disappears along with a hospital employee. Can Blake, Ethel and Janie, along with the security guards, find them both alive before the organ cranks up the wedding march?

And, I am under contract for a spin-off series, The Case Files of Jack Manson, set in the Austin area in the 1970’s when Janie is a newlywed and her sleuthing skills are just beginning to develop as she helps her husband climb the police ladder from beat cop to detective. Look for Blame Games, Same Games and Name Games to launch in 2018-2019 through Write Integrity Press.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing.

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here.

Character Interview: Janie Manson from Julie B. Cosgrove’s Baby Bunco

Today’s guest on Inner Source is Janie Manson from Julie B Cosgrove’s Baby Bunco, part of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries.

Welcome, Janie. I’d love for you to introduce yourselves to our readers because I think you have an interesting life to share.

Oh, my dear. I think all of us live interesting lives, don’t you agree? We all have our woes and joys. It makes us who we are.

My husband, Jack Manson, a renowned detective in the Austin Police department, was killed in the line of duty―leaving me a widow when my children were in their late teens and early twenties. After two decades, I decided to sell the house and move into a Fifty-five Plus community to be nearer to my daughter and her family. Her husband is the Chief Detective of the Alamoville Police Department. Not as famous as my Jack was, but he is a sharp cookie, nonetheless.

Anyway, several of my lifelong friends already lived there or were planning to make the move as well. Eventually we started a Bunco group going because (she whispers with her left hand angled to her mouth) their scheduled “senior” activities here at Sunset Acres are awfully lame.

Early on in our adult lives, Betsy Ann and I became walking buddies, and Ethel also joined us. It has kept us fairly fit and spry through the years. We still try every morning to power walk the almost two miles around the side roads of the community, not counting the golf course. We veer away from it. Old men with poorer eyesight swinging clubs at little hard balls with divots? That can get a bit dangerous. (She laughs.)

True story. My husband and I were driving around a curve at a local golf course, and an older man was on the tee. He swung the ball with all his might, and I tell you, I saw his eyes widen as he noticed his ball sailing right toward our car and my window. He missed, and I don’t know who was more thankful. I think you’re smart to avoid the golf course.

As the widow of a detective on the police force, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to let your husband go out the door every time he headed for work. With the growing crime rate against our police officers, is there any bit of wisdom, maybe even a Scripture, that sustained you through those years?

You cannot live healthily in fear. Our hearts, bodies and minds are not designed to do that. God asks us to live by faith instead, believing that come what may He is right beside us and has a purpose for all we go through. Romans 8:28- 31, knowing He works all for good to those who love Him, often was my go-to verse. Well, it still is.  Many a time I also poured over Psalm 144 in the wee hours of the morning when Jack was on a stakeout. I know it is the Soldier’s Psalm, but my husband often faced a battle of good versus evil, too. (She chuckles). But, then again, don’t we all?

Yes, we do. You have some awesome friends, and I’d love for our readers to be introduced to them by you. I believe you have a unique perspective on each of these quirky ladies and gents.

Let’s see. I’ve told you a bit about Blake. He is a good and honest man who loves his family. More than a job, his mission is to protect the citizens of this community. But underneath that Stetson is a fairly hard head. Even so, I think we get along okay, as much as any mother-in-law and son-in-law can.

Ethel and Betsy Ann are my lifelong buddies. We met early on when I Jack and I moved into our first home back in 1970. Betsy Ann and I were both pregnant at the time, and Ethel was organizing a neighborhood watch. She is a mystery aficionado and has collected, and read I might add, over five hundred whodunnit paperbacks. She has them sub-categorized in a file catalog by author, crime and method. Betsy Ann was a reporter for the garden section of the local newspaper for twenty-five years, so she has a touch of the sleuth gene in her as well.

If you had to pick one of the Bunco Biddies to go into a dangerous situation with you, which one would you trust the most? Which one would you not want to go into a perilous adventure by your side?

I’d trust Ethel the most because she is level-headed and has a no-nonsense attitude about life. Betsy Ann is a dear, but she tends to be a bit emotional and, well ditzy. But that’s part of her charm. Mildred has a tender heart, but she is too fragile right now. She’s had some major life challenges in the past year. We try to tiptoe on eggshells around her right now, but she’s gonna be fine. (Janie winks.)

And my last questions have to be about your son-in-law. You know he loves you, don’t you? I actually think he admires you very much. Blake is a wonderful guy, but I really want to know how you took the news when you learned that your daughter, Melanie, would be dreading her husband walk out the door, just as you must have all those years.

I hope that, by watching me as she grew up, I showed her how to boldly live this life. Perhaps I showed her too well. Blake reminds me a lot of my Jack at that age. There are times I wish she’d married an accountant or something, but I know God planned for them to be joined and truthfully, she couldn’t have picked better. Trust me though, each night I go down on my knees for her and the kids, and each morning I ask God to send His angels to guard Blake.

Being a cop’s wife is not easy, but at least their husbands come home when they get off duty, God willing. Of course the same goes for the families of our policewomen who serve. I cannot imagine how the spouses of our deployed service men and women make it day to day knowing their loved one is a second away from danger at any moment. They have to lean on God Almighty as well as family and friends. I pray for them as well. We all should, don’t you agree?

I agree 100%. I believe prayer is the best gift that we can give to those who stand between us and evil.

Thank you for visiting with us, Janie. I look forward to the interview of your author, Julie B. Cosgrove on Wednesday.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

More About the Author:

Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an Internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.