A Sparkling Vintage Life

You’re the Cream in My Coffee

Does Fiction Sometimes Grate on Your Last Nerve?

dorothy-parkerHello, Sparklers.

I’ve been enjoying literary agent Ann Byle’s “I’m Annoyed by Christian Fiction” series of posts, starting here (be sure to read the whole series–there are some things she likes about it, too!). As annoyances, she names things like too many “zings” per page. A “zing” is when the hero admires the heroine’s alabaster skin and the heroine admires the hero’s rippling biceps–some zings are needed to establish attraction, but too many can be like too much pepper in the soup. A little goes a long way.

Another phenomenon Ann mentions is the “I’m fine” syndrome, where characters toss off deep lacerations, lack of food or sleep for days, etc., with a glib “I’m fine,” reminding me of Monty Python’s Black Knight: “‘Tis but a flesh wound.” (stagger, stagger).

Several readers joined the chorus, expressing fatigue with heroines who are impossibly beautiful, heroes who are invariably handsome, and damsels who forget to eat when under stress. (Some people do lose their appetite. Others rip through entire boxes of graham crackers smeared with Nutella. Don’t ask).

I have a few pet peeves of my own, including loving and loyal best friends who appear in exactly one scene and are never heard from again, simply to advance some plot point, and children who remain unflaggingly adorable, winsome, and charming for an unrealistic 24/7.

Anyway, I was relieved to see that You’re the Cream in My Coffee does not annoy in the ways Ann and her followers mention.

*Lead character Marjorie is not impossibly beautiful. She’s not even particularly slim. Her hair tends to frizz, and she laments that the straight, boyish fashion silhouette of the 1920s does not work well with her curves.

*The man she’s engaged to marry is good-looking, but he wears spectacles, so his vision is not 20/20, so he’s not an unflawed specimen. And The Other Guy has a rugged battle scar down one side of his face. Think Ross Poldark.


(Okay, you can stop thinking Ross Poldark. Really. No, seriously, stop. Earth to Sparkler! Earth to Sparkler!)

*Yes, there are some zings in my book. But not three per page. And the thing that Marjorie most appreciates about her true love is not his biceps or his green eyes, but the way he–

AHA! You thought I was going to give something away, didn’t you? Not a chance.

What annoys you about the fiction you read (Christian or general)? What do you like best about it?

You’re the Cream in My Coffee is available in Sandpoint, Idaho, at Sandpoint Super Drug, Vanderford’s, the Bonner County History Museum Gift Shop, and the Corner Bookstore, and in Coeur d’Alene at the Sower Bookstore and the Well-Read Moose. Support the little guy! In many cases you can order online or by phone. If all else fails, of course, there’s always that big South American river.




Some extra Cream for your Coffee: Goodreads Giveaway thru Oct. 20!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

You're the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

You’re the Cream in My Coffee

by Jennifer Lamont Leo

Giveaway ends October 20, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



WinnerS of the Sparkling Vintage Mug-ging giveaway

Source: Greg Lamont

Source: Greg Lamont

Edited to add: Okay, sometimes it pays to reread one’s own posts. I see that I had promised to pick TWO winners of a mug and a book! So there’s been a second random mugging! MINDY HOOVER is our second mug-gee. Congratulations, Mindy!

Somebody just got mugged! Marcia Whetsel of Careywood, Idaho, won the drawing for the mug and book. Congratulations, Marcia! And thanks, everyone, for participating. More giveaways will be coming up soon.

book-launch-photoThe book-launch party in Sandpoint, Idaho, last weekend went great. I didn’t count how many people came, but it seemed like quite a crowd. I’m sure the rainy weather helped. I thought I was going to run out of books and be embarrassed by my poor planning, but providentially they stretched to the end. Only two people graciously accepted an IOU for later delivery of their books, and they were very good friends. (Growing up, if we had dinner guests and looked to be running low on some coveted food item, the whispered code was “FHB”–family hold back–to assure there’d be plenty for the guests.  I felt as if I’d whispered FHB to my sisters!) I had no idea so many people would want to buy my book. But I’m so glad they did! And another shipment arrives today, so it’s all good.book-launch-photo2

This coming weekend, I’ll be speaking at the Idaho Writers League annual conference in Coeur d’Alene, on writing for the inspirational fiction market. Please pray that my remarks are well received, helpful, and encouraging to aspiring authors.

I’m ready to stop talking about the book for a while, just as you’re no doubt ready to stop hearing about it. Look for some new posts on other vintage-related topics coming up soon!




Ladies and gentlemen, we have a book.

i-was-told-thered-be-creamYou’re the Cream in My Coffee releases today! The very kindest thing you can do for the book–and for me–is to tell your friends about it.  There’s a needle-in-a-haystack quality to new books these days, so help those people you know who might LIKE the story, to FIND the story.(Feel free to skip your uncle who proudly declares he hasn’t cracked open a book since the day he left school, or your third cousin who only reads vampire novels.)

Post a review on Amazon. And Goodreads, if that’s a site you frequent (and if you enjoy reading, you really should. It’s like the Enchanted Forest for book lovers).

Here are a couple of ways to score a free copy of the print edition:

*If you click “follow” on my Amazon author page today (9/15) , you will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy. (Look for the “follow” button under my photo on the author page. I’m telling you this because it took me a while to find it, lol.) This promotion is facilitated by Readers in the Know.

*If you comment on my blog or sign up for my e-newsletter through 9/17, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free copy AND a limited-edition mug.

There’s no reason not to throw your hat in the ring for both promotions.

Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you. Seriously. You are the bee’s knees!





A Sparkling Vintage Mug-ging!

Source: Greg Lamont

Source: Greg Lamont

My talented brother Greg Lamont made this fabulous limited-edition mug for the launch of You’re the Cream in My Coffee. Isn’t it–and isn’t he–the bee’s knees?

I’ll be giving a couple of these mugs away as door prizes at the book launch party here in Idaho on September 17. But I’ll bet a whole lot of you Sparklers won’t be able to make it to Idaho that day. And that hardly seems fair. So I’ve decided to also give away 2 mugs here on the blog as well. There are two ways to enter:

(1) You can leave a comment below, finishing this sentence: “One person I’d love to have coffee with is______________because ______________” (The person you choose can be fictional or real, living or long-gone.)


(2) You can sign up for my quarterly e-letter (look to the right for the sign-up form).

On the evening of September 17, I will draw 2 names at random to receive one of these special mugs plus a copy of You’re the Cream in My Coffee (signed, if you want). The names will be drawn at random from commenters and e-letter subscribers.

I’ll start. One person I’d love to have coffee with is Erma Bombeck, because we would laugh until our sides ached, and all the jokes would be clean, proving it can be done.

Okay, your turn.





Come and say “hi”!

FYI I’ve recently added an Events tab at the top of this website to keep track of my upcoming book-related appearances. Here are some comings and goings taking place this fall:

Saturday, September 17: A Roaring Twenties-themed book launch party! Kokanee Coffee, 509 N. Fifth Ave., Sandpoint, ID, from 10 to noon (drop in anytime). Coffee! Cake! Event is free to the public. Books will be available for purchase, plus 2 door prizes (gift baskets containing a copy of the book, a limited-edition hand-crafted coffee mug, and a bag of gourmet coffee beans).

Tuesday, September 20: I’m scheduled for a chat on Barbara Carpenter’s radio program on KSPT-Sandpoint.

Friday and Saturday, September 23-24: The Idaho Writers League Annual Conference at the  Coeur d’Alene Inn & Conference Center in Coeur d’Alene, ID I’ll be speaking on Writing for the Inspirational Market on Friday at 10:30 a.m. Books will be available for purchase.

Saturday, October 10: Indie Author Day at the Bonner County Library, Cedar and Division in Sandpoint, ID, from 9:30-3:30. I’ll be speaking about the research process for historical fiction, and also doing a short reading and book signing. Event is free to the public. Books will be available for purchase.




My debut novel, You’re the Cream in My Coffee, is scheduled to be published exactly three months from today!

Tick … tick … tick …

For updates on the book and all sorts of other newsy tidbits (like exclusive giveaways and other goodies), sign up to get my newsletter at right. It’s free, it’s fun, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

“The Christmas Robe”: A free short story, and a request


Cover design by Thomas Leo


Big crazy news…I just taught myself how to upload a book to Amazon! My “practice” book is actually a short story, just in time for Christmas. Called “The Christmas Robe,” it’s set in the 1920s and features Marjorie Corrigan, heroine of my forthcoming novel.

I’d wanted to make it free on Amazon, but it turns out I can only do that if I agree to list it exclusively on Amazon, which I don’t want to do. So it costs 99 cents there. BUT, dear readers, if you simply swing your cursor over to the right-hand side of this here website and sign up for my quarterly newsletter, A Sparkling Vintage Life, you’ll get it for free! (I use the term “quarterly” loosely. It’s been more like “annual, more or less” up to now. But I vow to do better in 2016. Really I do. On the plus side, history shows I won’t be cluttering up your mailbox…).

If you read “The Christmas Robe” and enjoy it, if I will be forever in your debt if you then take a moment and zip over to Amazon and leave a review. Reviews are solid gold to unknown first-time authors like yours truly. Heck, you could even subscribe to the newsletter, download the free story, read it, write a review, and unsubscribe from the newsletter! No judgment here.

And if you read the story and prefer not to leave a review…well, that’s okay, too. I simply hope you enjoy “The Christmas Robe” as my gift to you.

And if you’re already a newsletter subscriber, you’ll automatically get a copy of the story, as soon as I figure out how to do that. 🙂 (Edited to add: I think I figured it out, so all current subscribers should have received it by now. If you haven’t–and you want it–send me an email at jenny (at) jenniferlamontleo (dot) com and I’ll look into the glitch.)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!