Posted By Susan Bernhardt


Today I hosted a summer tea party for a few friends. I wanted it to be a garden tea party but because of the hot temperatures (and the mosquitoes) I decided to set the table in our new sunroom. As you can see the table is quite small and so another table held the food.

I made two fresh cut flower arrangements using the flowers from my garden for each table. (I always hate picking my flowers outside because they look so beautiful there. But garden flowers are sweet.) I placed a little gift, a butterfly cup and saucer with a candle in the cup, at each place setting.

Since "Sweet Marissa's Patisserie" was closed because Marissa was on, for those of you who read my mystery "The Ginseng Conspiracy", everything was home baked. I made a few appetizers, and served my "famous" chocolate cream cheese cake. I had a variety of pastries on a three-tiered serving tray and lemon bars, muffins, homemade dark chocolate almond clusters, dark chocolate sea salt caramels. Earlier this morning I had picked raspberries from my garden and had a bowl of those on the table with cream on the side.

My friends and I wore dresses which was fun and we had a delightful visit while sipping tea and looking out over my gardens. It was the next best thing to a garden tea party and a welcome respite from the ordinary.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

I've been sitting all Sunday afternoon thinking about a topic I should blog on next. What might my readers enjoy? Should it be on different techniques of writing? Many of my author friends do those. I could choose something related to my mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy. I'd love to make it into a summer blog but Kay, the protagonist and her best friend, the free-spirited Deirdre, have already visited the farmers' market, planted a garden together, had their tea leaves read in my blogs.

Kay in a previous post was transported into a Degas painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has had multiple romantic dinners with Phil. She's lived, eaten, and loved jazz. Daydreamed, celebrated women and the earth, fantasized.

I could write about the holidays. Well Kay already talked about her party on Cinco de Mayo and celebrated the 4th of July with her extended family. I've had a number of blogs on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Spring and Autumn Equinox. And vacations, Kay's told about attending a classical concert in Venice.

Then there is the untamed, modern woman Elizabeth from my novel who has lots of exciting times with the three men she is dating, but that could be too riske.

Should I blog about my typical weekend when home? Too boring.

Maybe I should have a guest blogger.

Then there's food. I've already done that too, the benefits of chocolate, different fruits and vegetables. I think everyone might be herbal-ed out by now. Is herbal-ed out a word?

No, really, what should I blog about? I'd love to cover a requested topic in a future blog post.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

This has been a wonderful six months for me, as an author with my first Kay Driscoll mystery, "The Ginseng Conspiracy" having been published by MuseItUp Publishing. I feel like I've been on an exciting merry-go-round. The Ginseng Conspiracy has been featured in the Sisters in Crime Quarterly and The Wisconsin Writers Association, "Creative Wisconsin" magazine. I've been interviewed numerous times both by other authors and newspapers. "The Ginseng Conspiracy" received glowing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and in personal emails, and it's been discussed at a book club!

"The Ginseng Conspiracy" website home page has 5300+ hits and the blog close to 39,000 hits. So many people have supported me with this website. I'm thankful to my readers, the guest bloggers, and the authors who participated in the blogs.

How great is all of this and how lucky to have this dream come true! And there's more to come in fall with the release of "Murder Under the Tree" and "Murder by Fireworks" (working title) next year.

It takes a village. None of this would have happened without the enthusiasm and support of my friends, family (two editors in that mix), and readers. I just wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Just know, that I appreciate all of you and that I am very grateful.


In March of 2014, The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt was featured in the Sisters in Crime Quarterly Vol. 27 No. 1.

In June of 2014, The Ginseng Conspiracy was featured in the Wisconsin Writers' Association Magazine, "Creative Wisconsin" Volume 6. June 2014. Included in the full page article was a rave review, the author's bio, and book blurb.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

I've always been fascinated with romantic ideas of where authors write. Perhaps I had seen too many movies, but when I became an author, I pictured myself looking out of a second floor palazzo window onto the Grande Canal in Venice, with a glass of Prosecco beside my desk pounding away on the keyboard. Or in NYC working in an Upper West Side Brownstone where I could practically touch the tree outside of my window. In between paragraphs, I'd watch the hustle and bustle of the street below with the only things on my mind being my novel and trying to decide which neighborhood eatery I would try that evening, Indian, Thai or Italian. Or in a Victorian home, a "Painted Lady" in San Francisco looking out over the San Francisco Bay, hearing the cable cars in the distance and the seagulls above, trying to finish a chapter before meeting friends in North Beach at a coffee bar.

I thought it would be fun to find out where real life writers write. And so I've asked some of my author friends to share about their writing spaces. I'll start with mine.

I'm Susan Bernhardt, the author of the cozy mystery The Ginseng Conspiracy and the photos above show where I write at home. I sit on the sofa with my laptop and type away. There is a wall-sized window where I can look out over our neighborhood or watch the birds build their nests in our yew tree in the spring. I have a little make-shift side table, a Red Wing crock where I keep my teacup filled throughout the day. When I'm not watching my carbs, I often have a scone sitting next to the teacup slathered in lemon curd and clotted cream.

I really can write almost anywhere. When on a car trip, I write in my car. I've written in a cabin in remote northwoods of Wisconsin. I started my second cozy mystery in the Kay Driscoll series on a plane flying across the ocean.

Heather Fraser Brainerd lives in New York with her husband, three sons, and one crazy rescue dog. She writes paranormal mysteries for adults (the José Picada, PI series) and young adults ( Dream Shade), and will release the middle grade fantasy Shadows of New York this summer. She often co-writes with her brother David Fraser.

I write on a laptop, so my writing space is all over the place! Most of the time, I can be found at my kitchen island. It’s centrally located, so I can hear all the action going on in my house. This is important with three boys and a dog to keep track of. Plus, it’s close to snacks. I like my snacks. Sometimes I sit on the window seat in our living room. This gives a lovely view of the front yard, especially when the trees are in full green leafy mode and the flowers are in bloom. Or when everything is covered in a fresh, white layer of snow. In the summer, I like to write on my screened porch. This is off the back of the house, and lets me keep an eye on the multitude of wildlife crossing our back yard. Though I have a laptop, I’ve yet to take it on a trip with me. I do like to travel, and can picture myself someday writing in Old San Juan or New Orleans or Walt Disney World.

Please go to Part B immediately below.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

David Bazan, from South Texas has won one competition and was awarded Honorable Mention in an International Screenwriting Contest. He writes Comedy/Drama Screen/Stage Plays, and has almost finished his first action novel.

I don’t know what Susan could have been thinking when she asked me to write a paragraph about my work space. Humph! Well, I have to say that I use a desktop, because my fingers are so big they’d trip on any laptop keyboard. I love to wake up early, very early, when I know everything is right with my world. I have a large coffee next to me, and all I have to do is concentrate on what the characters are trying to say through me. Music is vital, so I have Pandora set to whatever theme I’m writing, but everything being equal, I listen to opera, most especially Placido Domingo. Placido has helped me produce some of my funniest lines. Go figure… What the heck was Susan thinking?

My name is Matthew Peters. I am the author of The Brothers' Keepers (forthcoming through MuseItUp Publishing) and Conversations Among Ruins (forthcoming through All Things That Matter Press). My writing space is mine, that is the first thing I can say about it. It exists in a corner of a room near a window where I can keep in touch with the outside world if I am otherwise buried in a writing project. Never far away is a set of books I can refer to if need be. In addition to grammar books, are books on writing and literary classics to which I might turn for inspiration if I feel my spirit flagging. I keep a gratitude list tacked to the wall near my computer. Also nearby are index cards full of notes that I have taken while researching my current project. Finally, I have a phonograph and a collection of classical records because music is essential to my writing. This space is hard to replicate so I am unable to work from a laptop, though that is something I may try to incorporate into my writing routine in the future.

Lorenzo Pablo Martinez is an author and composer. He's published books of children's songs and a picture book for children. His memoir, "MoonlightSecrets," is coming out in the summer.

Writers who are serious about their craft write --everywhere! When my full-time job demanded frequent national and international travel, I wrote while waiting at airports. More often than not my flight would be delayed or cancelled and I would perch myself on the floor with laptop on my knees. The longer the delay, the more I wrote and the happier I became. Except, once a flight was delayed, subsequent flights were affected, and the area would become saturated with irate travelers who thought nothing of stepping over my belongings and disturbing my work. The first draft of my upcoming memoir was written at airports in New York City, Chicago, D.C., Seattle, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Ghana, South Africa, and others. I affectionately call it my "traveling memoir."

Airports are not the only unusual places I write in. I often write short paragraphs, maybe the beginning of a chapter, or my blog, on my iPad in bed. Another out-of-the ordinary place for me to write in is the kitchen. I cart my laptop there, particularly on Tuesdays when the cleaning lady is in, then cart it back when she's done with the rest of the house and brings her cleaning supplies to the kitchen--hint, hint. My usual writing spot, however, is in my music room, where I have a big desktop, which I've used twice in two years (why did I buy it?), a laptop and a baby grand piano. Nothing keeps the inspiration flowing better than a short break with a Chopin prelude. No matter where and when I write, there's always a bottle of water next to me. The muses must be kept hydrated at all times!




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Susan Bernhardt


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