Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer.Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

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HBW Calendar

  • 08/10 - New Release, Tina Donahue
  • 08/07 - Handbag & Book, Summer of Seduction authors
  • 08/03 - Travel & Book, Nancy Raven Smith
  • 07/31 - Sisterhood FB Party!
  • A Book Signing, Vicki
  • 07/24 - Handbag & Book, Linda Tillis
  • 07/20 - Recipe & Book, Vinnie Hansen
  • 07/17 - Handbag & Book, Beverley Oakley
  • 07/13 - Recipe & Book, Norma Huss
  • 07/10 - Handbag & Book, Loretta Wheeler
  • 07/06 - Travel & Book, Sharon Buchbinder
  • 07/03 - Happy Fourth of July!
  • 06/29 - Gardening and Book, Vicki
  • 06/26 - Handbag and Book, VB

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Travel and Book with Vinnie Hansen #Cubatravel #mystery #noStarbucks

Travel and Book with
Vinnie Hansen

For those who like all the creature comforts of home, Cuba may not be for you. The long-standing embargo has created many shortages, compensated for by great resourcefulness. Cuba is a country for those who like destinations precisely because they don’t have a Starbuck’s on every corner. That would be my husband and me.  

My husband and I enjoy cultures that are different than ours. However, we don’t necessarily relish the arduous process of getting there. Cuba beckoned us—a non-stop flight to Cancun and then a simple hour hop to Havana. Fairly simple travel to be in one of only two places in the world without Coca-Cola.

When we ventured to Cuba in 2010, there was one hitch—it was illegal. Cuba had no restriction against us entering the country (although the government keeps close tabs on where one stays). Reentry to the United States was the sticking point as it is against the law to lie to a Customs Official about one’s travel. Fortunately, when we returned—Danny sporting his new Cancun cap—no one asked us where we’d been.

The two of us traveled in Cuba for a month, staying in casas particulares, private homes that rent out rooms and provide breakfast.

If visiting Cuba appeals to you, now is the time. As I write, a small window remains before President Trump’s new restrictions go into effect.


The island provides the backdrop for Black Beans & Venom, the seventh book in my Carol Sabala Mystery Series.

November, 2001 

I liked J.J. Sloan better as a practicing alcoholic. At least then, I knew where to find him, right down to which stool he would occupy. Now that he had renewed his commitments to running and recovery, he was not only less reachable, but also more insufferable, which I had not thought possible.

 “That’s the glory of cross-country running,” he crowed, as he stood in the office, dipping one knee and then the other to stretch his Achilles tendons. “Your legs can take you anywhere.” He pronounced this as though he were Neil Armstrong, taking the first step on the moon on behalf of all mankind. Next he stretched his hamstrings by bending at the waist and reaching for his shins. He had good legs, I would give him that, but they could not compensate for the crooked nose and acne-scarred skin.

“File that pile, Carol.” Without further ado, he trotted to the door and down the hallway.

I fumed in our windowless office. Even though J.J. had taken me on as a favor to my boyfriend David and had invested hundreds of hours training me to be a private investigator, it felt insulting to have him continue to treat me like a peon. Yet Sloan’s Investigative Services was his business, if you could call it that. The office existed as a place to receive messages and to burn coffee.

Find Black Beans & Venom at: Amazon

Find Vinnie at: Vinnie Hansen
Hi, Vinnie! So nice to read about your trip. What was your favorite sweet treat you ate there?




Monday, July 17, 2017

Handbag and Book with Beverley Oakley #historicalromance #RLFblog #newbook

Handbag and Book with
Beverley Oakley 

Thanks so much for the chance to tell the story of this gorgeous handbag which cost much more than I'd ever dreamed of spending. So I was touched and amazed when, after admiring it in a shop in a country town north of Melbourne, it was gifted to me that night.
I'd been showing the sights to elderly friends of my parents (from the days we lived in Lesotho, Africa) and Pat had said I was like the daughter she never had. (She had four sons.) She said she'd been watching me to see what I showed a particular interest in so she could buy me something I'd really like.
And I certainly love the elegant shape and feel of this leather bag with its unusual treatment.
I also feel really lucky that our family had such good friends whose friendship has endured over more than half a century.

A duchess disguised as a lady’s maid; a gentleman parading as a highwayman.
She’s on the run from a murderer, he’s in pursuit of one…
In a remote Norfolk manor, Phoebe, Lady Cavanaugh is wrongfully accused by her servants of her brutal husband’s murder.
There’s little sympathy in the district for the duchess who’s taken a lover and made clear she despised her husband. The local magistrate has also vowed revenge since Lady Cavanaugh rebuffed his advances.
When Phoebe is discovered in the forest wearing only a chemise stained with the blood of her murdered husband, she persuades the noble ‘highwayman’ who rescues her that she is Lady Cavanaugh’s maidservant.
Hugh Redding has his own reasons for hunting down the man who would have Phoebe tried and hanged for murder. He plans to turn ‘the maidservant with aspirations above her station' into the 'lady' who might testify against the very villain who would see Phoebe dead.
To her astonishment Miss Redding promptly burst into tears. Again.
Phoebe shook her head as she watched Miss Ada bury her face in her hands, rocking her shoulders as she shook her head, the green feather of her bonnet threatening to snag on the spikes of the hedge. Miss Redding was perhaps fours years younger than Phoebe. Perhaps just a year or so out of the school room when she’d met Wentworth.
“Stop behaving like an emotional child,” Phoebe muttered putting her hand awkwardly on her shoulder. “First you accost me and then you insult me and say you’re not supposed to be speaking to me. I think it’s time to bid you good day, Miss Redding before your brother sees us and accuses me once again of upsetting you.”
Miss Redding looked up at her through reddened eyelids. “Don’t go,” she pleaded. “I know I was rude even though there’s truth in what I say – you surely must admit it. But my situation is so much worse than yours. I have lost everything!”
“Your virtue, which you so foolishly offered?”
Instead of another angry outburst, Miss Redding merely nodded sadly. “My virtue…and then…” She took a deep breath. “That which I cannot speak of. So much worse. And now my will to live.” She began to cry again but this time with such heart-rending sobs that Phoebe was moved.
She gripped Ada by the shoulder and drew her deeper into the garden where there was no chance of being observed and asked, “There was a child?”
Find The Duchess and the Highwayman at: https://www.books2read.com/u/38Dw6d/  
Find Beverley at: http://www.beverleyoakley.com/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Recipe and Book with Norma Huss #Guppies #SINC #leftovers

Recipe and Book with
Norma Huss
         I wrote the following scene for Jo Durbin in my book, thinking about how I often cook in my own kitchen—gathering together whatever I find for a meal.

         “You’re taking advantage of my good nature.” Of course he wasn’t, and he knew it. In my customary life I was an innovative but often haphazard cook, however, Mel was such an appreciative audience. And face it, I did need a break from outdoor research now and then.

            I found a package of ramen noodles, a few nuts, a can of mushrooms, and a half jar of peanut butter. I lined up his spices, decided which bits of veggies from the crisper in the bottom of the refrigerator were usable, and did my magic.

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