Posted in Authors, Books, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Peg Cochran

cozycatpicToday’s guest for a Cozy Chat is Peg Cochran about her Farmer’s Daughter Series.

Hi, Peg. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

NoFarmNoFoulCan you tell us a little bit about the Farmer’s Daughter series? What gave you the idea for it?

My agent and I tossed various ideas around. She had the idea for a farmer who blogs, and I really liked the concept.  I decided I wanted to do something a little different so I made her a young widow with an almost teenaged daughter and an eight-year-old son.  She blogs about cooking, farming, raising children and life in general which, on Love Blossom Farm, is sometimes a little crazy!

Sounds nice. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Never give up! I had 400 rejections on three projects I’d been circulating to agents for two years when I finally got my “big break” thanks to a writing buddy who put me in touch with her agent about a project. Another bit of advice—network with other writers through on-line writers’ groups.  You never know who might open a door for you.  As for writing cozies, the key is a strong “hook.”

Wow! That’s impressive. Being persistent is definitely important for authors. I’m currently looking for an agent myself and, although I haven’t sent out nearly as many queries as you mentioned, I don’t let the rejections deter me.

What are you currently working on?

I just received the copy-edits from my editor for the third Cranberry Cove release, Dead and Berried. The second Farmer’s Daughter book, Sowed to Death, is scheduled for release in 2017. The first one, “No Farm, No Foul”  is scheduled for release today, September 6, and I’m working on the fifth book in my e-book Lucille Series coming out through Beyond the Page Publishing.

Sounds like a full schedule. I also juggle several books and other writing projects. Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Right now I am very busy with my cozies, but I’m doing research for a proposal for a historical mystery, and I’d love to try my hand at suspense. I like a challenge!

I think that’s great. Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

By reading. Reading Nancy Drew gave me the urge to write a mystery although my first writing, done when I was around seven, was plays that I forced my cousins to perform at Christmas dinner!

Nice story. What are your hobbies besides writing?

Reading, of course, and I love to cook.  I’m hopeless at needlework of any kind, and forget scrapbooking—the only pictures that have made it into albums are through 1984!

LOL. It’s hard to find the time for hobbies when you write, but reading is always helpful.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

IMG_2845I love hearing from readers! They can contact me through my website: pegcochran.com. 

Thanks for the interview, Peg, and best wishes on your upcoming cozies and other books.

 

Posted in Authors, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Linda Rawlins

cozycatpic

Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Linda Rawlins for a chat about her cozy mysteries.

Hi, Linda. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new book, Misty Manor and  what gave you the idea for it?

LindaRawlings2Hi, my name is Linda Rawlins. My new book is named, Misty Manor. Misty Manor is the first of my new series, which takes place at the NJ Shore. I love being at the beach. It relieves my stress. I love the setting. The Grand Victorian homes are gorgeous and I often wonder what it was like to live there in the 1800’s. I believe many people go to the beach and ocean to relax.

Yes, the sea can be very relaxing, and the setting of you book sounds charming. I’ve enjoyed vacations on the Jersey Shore especially Cape May. I’m also a lover of Victorian architecture and featured one in my short historical romance story, “The Seashell and the Stone” that I recently published with a group of other authors in the Love, Always anthology that is available exclusively as a contest prize and giveaway in my newsletter and on my Facebook takeovers.

LindaRawlings3Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

The most important advice I can give to writers is to write every day!! When I started writing, I spent time trying to make sure the first chapter was perfect before I went on to the next. I soon learned it was better to simply write the story. The initial story is similar to a rough stone. Through editing, you begin to polish that stone. With every level of editing, content, grammar, line, and copy, you continue to polish your manuscript until it is a sparkling gem. So just relax and write! You can add, subtract and edit later.

That is excellent advice. I have always written that way and know that editing is the tough part, but allowing the words to flow and the story to unfold initially without interruption is vital. What are you currently working on?

I have begun to work on the next book of the Misty Manor series. It can be read as a standalone, but will continue the story of Megan Stanford and Misty Manor. I like to read and write mystery fiction.

LindarawlingsMy other series, Rocky Meadow Mystery series, takes place in Vermont at a catholic retreat center. A trauma surgeon, Dr. Amy Daniels, flees to Vermont after she learns she saved the life of a man who killed her sister. There she meets a psychologist priest, Father Michael Lauretta, and together they solve mysteries while she works through her pain. They are helped by Tony Noce, a former NYPD cop, Katie Novak, rectory cook and housekeeper and Willow Davis, a millionaire teenager abandoned by her parents. The three books, The Bench, Fatal Breach and Sacred Gold can be read as standalones or in order.

Very nice. I also just signed a contract for the second book of my Cobble Cove novels that started with “A Stone’s Throw.” It can also be read as a standalone but will feature the same characters with some new ones, as well, with a different storyline and mystery.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I always dreamed of writing a book and started my first mystery novel in fifth grade. I would write various things but was always pulled away by my day job. I finally dedicated myself in 2010! 

I was a prolific reader as a child. I started by reading my grandmother’s books, written by Phyllis Whitney, Emily Loring and Victoria Holt. I had also read most of the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy mysteries by the time I reached fifth grade and started to write my own mystery. Realizing my love for reading and writing, my fifth grade teacher allowed me to take a book, which he self-published, home to show my parents. I am sure that day was one of the most inspirational for my writing.

In addition to my studies, I continued to read as much fiction as I could through high school and won first place in a poetry contest. The novels I choose covered most genres – mystery, romance, sci-fi, horror and fantasy.

In college, I studied different forms of literature, reading American Classics and English Novelists as well as majoring in PreMed. During college, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov and Dr. Ruth.  Over the years I’ve also met many writers such as Mary Higgins Clark, Donald Bain, Diana Gabaldon and others.

I studied hard and went to Medical School. I no longer had time to read fiction, but I did have the privilege of meeting many wonderful people. Working with them, they shared many wonderful, emotional, painful and special experiences and I believe it is a combination of all these personalities which helped to make up my characters.

Eventually, I was able to return to reading fiction and begin to write my own stories.

That sounds very much like my own experience. I was also an avid reader as a kid and, coincidentally, loved the authors you mentioned. I was a big fan of Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. I’ve been writing in one form or other since I learned how. My first published works were articles for my college newspaper followed by articles I published in pet magazines. I then advanced to a short story in a mystery anthology before self-publishing my first novel and then publishing “A Stone’s Throw” with Limitless Publishing. My new mystery, tentatively called. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” will be published by Solstice Publishing.

What are your hobbies besides writing? 

My day job is that of a board certified family physician and I have met many wonderful people! I also love to read, sing, walk, hike in Vermont, and above all spend time with my family!

Those sound like nice and relaxing past-times, Linda. I’m a librarian so, of course, my main hobby is reading which fits right in with my writing. I’m also a big cat lover and have two of cats of my own that are part of my family that includes my husband and daughter.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I want to thank all my readers for reading my books. I love hearing from readers and am honored they have read my work. 

I love all my novels and each is special in a unique way. However, I read to escape and I love to go to the beach to relax, renew and reorganize. Misty Manor is my favorite as I was able to visit my favorite place each time I started writing.  I hope you will too!

Our days are never guaranteed. Always love one another and Happy Reading!

I feel the same way, Linda. I’m including your social media links, so readers can keep in touch with you. Thanks so much for chatting with me today. I am also reading Misty Manor right now and will post a review of it soon. So far, I’m enjoying it very much. It’s like I’m vacationing back on the Jersey Shore.

Keep in touch with Linda at:

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Dianne Harman

cozycatpicToday, I have the pleasure of chatting with Dianne Harman about her High Desert cozy mystery series.

Hi, Dianne. Thanks for joining us. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

 

HDCS_1Can you tell us a little bit about your series? What gave you the idea for it?

My husband’s uncle lived in a compound with three other artists in the high desert outside of Palm Springs, California. We visited him several times, and I was always charmed by the four homes which surrounded a central courtyard. It had a large tree filled with twinkling lights, and it stayed with me. I was an art and antique appraiser prior to becoming an author, and it was a natural to combine the two. I love food and dogs, so they found their way in as well. One of the people who lives in the compound has a food truck, the antique appraiser has a black Labrador retriever who wears pink booties, and I have a recipe section in all of my books.

Very nice. Books always seem more realistic when authors base them on their own experiences and knowledge. My book, A Stone’s Throw, features a librarian like me and a cat and dog. I’m a pet lover, especially of cats, and the Siamese in the book is based on my 16-year old cat, Oliver.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Just do it! You don’t need one more class, one more critique group, one more anything. You learn as you go, and believe me, the more you write, the more you’ll learn.

I agree. Even though writing classes and groups can be helpful, experience is the best teacher.

What are you currently working on?

I launched a new series this week, the Jack Trout Cozy Mystery Series. One of my books in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series is about an English guide being murdered while fishing in Cuba. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go to Cuba recently with Jack, who is a fishing guide. People responded so favorably to Jack and his wife, Carola, that I decided to do a series about them and fishing different places. Murdered in Argentina, released July 18th, is based on a trip we recently took with them to Chile and Argentina. I fell in love with a small little town, San Martin de Los Andes, and decided to base the book there.

That sounds terrific. Best of luck with that. I’m sure there will be a lot of interest from your readers.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I wrote the Coyote Series, three psychological thrillers, prior to writing cozy mysteries.

Interesting. I just finished a psychological thriller tentatively titled “Sea Scope” that I hope to publish next year. My sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will hopefully be out soon, as well, and I have a great idea for a pet cozy series that I’d like to start. 

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

My husband and I were attending a wedding in Palm Springs, California. It was October and the temperature was 107. The air conditioning was so quiet that I happened to make the comment “Wouldn’t it be wild if someone put a ‘feel good drug’ in the air conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” My husband looked at me and said the words that started a whole new career for me, “Why don’t you write a book about it?” And so I did.

What a great story.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love to cook, and I love to read. Plus, you’ll always find at least one dog in our household, often more than that!

Pets are great additions to a home. They really become part of the family. I have one daughter, but my two male cats are almost like baby sons to me.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I’m just so grateful that readers have consistently made my books best sellers. This was something that was never planned when the word “retirement” came up, but I love every minute of it!

I can imagine what a great feeling that is, Diane. I’m just starting to build my writing business although I’ve been writing for a long time. I hope to be as successful as you. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it to know there are people reading and enjoying your books. I hope I can also make it a full-time career when I retire in ten years or so.

Can you share some links with us of your social media sites and Amazon page?

Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5 
Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com
Blog: http://dianneharman.com/blog/
Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Best of luck on your new series and forthcoming books.

 

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Harper Lin

cozycatpicToday’s Cozy Chat is with Harper Lin who I spoke with about her Cape Bay Cafe mysteries.
Hi, Harper.  Thanks for joining me for a Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

capebaycafemysteryCan you tell us a little bit about the Cape Bay Cafe Mystery series? What gave you the idea for it?

I don’t live near the beach, but always thought it would be fun to. I also love cafes. Whenever I travel, the cafe scene in a city or town is very important to me, so this series is really fantasy fulfillment for me, to live in a friendly small town, running a cozy cafe where all the locals congregate—except for all the murders, of course!

Sounds like fun and a great theme for a cozy mystery series.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

It’s easier to write a mystery when you plot it out first. Write down who the killer is, what their motive is, and a few other suspects and their possible motives. Sometimes I can’t plot out everything beforehand because the characters need to develop and discover as they go, but I do put down the bare bones of the story first.

I like that advice. I’m more of a pantster than a plotter, but I definitely agree it’s important to have some basic plot points and a character outline for a mystery. In my mystery, A STONE’S THROW, as well as its sequel which I hope will be published soon, I had an idea who I wanted to be the bad guy (or gal as the case may be), but I did change things toward the end.

What are you currently working on?

harperlinbook1harperlinbook2There is a fourth book in the series called “Latte, Ladyfingers, and Lies.” I also have two other books coming out in my other series, “The Wonder Cats Mysteries“, and “The Patisserie Mysteries“. 

Wow! You write a variety of mysteries. I’m partial to the cat one. I must add it to my TBR cozy pile.

Do you write any genres other than cozies?

No, but I really want to write a young adult series. Perhaps a YA mystery series!

YA books are very popular right now. It would probably do well.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I always read a lot, and I started writing for fun. Then I went down the self-publishing venture after lots of help from other writers and by hiring professional editors. 

As a new author, I’ve found other writers tremendously helpful. They are so eager to share their experience, and the networking and support is very motivational.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love yoga. Sometimes I bake, but I don’t have as much time for that as I used to since I am busy writing all the time. Of course, reading is a big one!

I used to enjoy yoga. Now I’ve just been walking and doing Leslie Sansone videos when I can’t walk outside. The stretching is very important.

I also know what you mean about writing taking up so much time, and most authors are avid readers, as well.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I hope my books are entertaining. Readers tell me that the stories help them relax after stressful days at work, so I’m glad I’m able to entertain them.

Books can be very relaxing, especially cozies. Even though they feature murder and other crimes, some of the characters almost become friends.

Thanks so much for joining me today and best wishes to you on all your series. I’m including some of your contact information for readers who want to connect with you.

Sign up Harper’s Newsletter to hear about new book releases & deals.
Posted in Authors, Books, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Ellery Adams

cozycatpicelleryadamsThis week’s Cozy Chat is with Ellery Adams who I spoke with about her Books by the Bay mysteries.
Hi, Ellery.  Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.


Can you tell us a little bit about the Books by the Bay series? What gave you the idea for it?

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.24.36 AMThis series features a group of aspiring writers turned amateur sleuths. It’s set in a fictional town on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina and the seaside setting permeates nearly every scene. I wanted to write a series featuring a very strong, but haunted female protagonist. I also wanted her to be middle-aged. Olivia Limoges is the heroine of the series, though her friends, the Bayside Book Writers, are integral because they bring her out of her shell. As does her standard poodle, Captain Haviland. This is a series for anyone who enjoys complex characters, multi-layered plotlines sprinkled with historical detail, a coastal setting, and literary references.

Sounds quite interesting, Ellery. As a fellow author, I can relate to a mystery involving a writer’s group. In fact, I’m starting one next month at the library where I work. I also love mysteries that involve pets. Mine also has a dog (Fido) and a library cat (Sneaky), as well. The poodle in yours has a wonderful name.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

My advice is to write what you feel passionate about – not what you think might sell. If you put your heart (and tons of editing!) into your work, it’s bound to speak to people.

I agree totally. It’s very important to write what you know and love, although the know can be researched. The love has to come from the heart. As far as the tons of editing, that’s also very true. I am editing the sequel to my mystery, A STONE’S THROW, right now, and it’s slow-going because of all the little but important things that need to be smoothed out.

What are you currently working on?

Tomorrow, Feb 26th, I’m releasing an ebook only copy of  A Devious Lot, the 5th Antiques & deviouslotCollectibles mystery. 

MurderInTheSecretGarden_FCI am also working on Murder in the Secret Garden, the 3rd Book Retreat Mystery featuring Jane Steward of Storyton Hall, Virginia.

Screenshot 2015-11-14 19.17.51The 5th installment of the Charmed Pie Shoppe series, Breach of Crust, will hit bookstore shelves on April 5, 2016. Here’s a brief summary:

Plate up another slice of Southern magic and mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Lemon Pies and Little White Lies . . .

  Ella Mae LeFaye’s delicious pies are still drawing long lines—as well as the attention of Beatrice Burbank, president of the Camellia Club, a philanthropic organization comprised of high-society Southern ladies from the charming and affluent town of Sweet Briar, Georgia. To ensure the success of their centennial dessert cookbook, Bea hires Ella Mae to teach the tasty tricks of her trade to the club’s members at their annual retreat. Eager to work on new recipes for customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Ella Mae readily agrees.

But when Ella Mae finds Bea’s body floating in Lake Havenwood, she wonders what she’s gotten herself mixed up in. Someone certainly wanted Bea to eat humble pie, and the retreat offers no shortage of unsavory characters, including Ella Mae’s longtime nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Ella Mae definitely doesn’t need magic to tell her she must find the killer before someone else gets panned.

That sounds great. Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Not at the moment. I weave other genres into my mysteries (history, literary fiction, and fantasy) but I am planning on trying my hand at women’s fiction in 2016.

Can you also tell me how you got started in writing?

I used to sell homemade books for a quarter apiece to the neighborhood kids. They featured my friends as the heroes and they always had a happy ending.

Wow! That’s interesting. I actually used to make comics as a kid featuring some of my neighbors in different adventures and stories. I never sold them to anyone, but I had funny creating them.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

To be honest, I had more hobbies before I started writing three series, but when I have a rare moment between deadlines, I like to read, bake, garden, binge-watch Masterpiece Theater shows.

I know what you mean. Writing, editing, and promoting have really put a limit on my extra time.  Your interests sound enjoyable, and I’m sure they’re relaxing when you fit them in.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Just that I’m grateful to any reader for buying my books or asking for them at their local library. It’s a very competitive market out there and it’s getting harder and harder for the mid-list author to survive. The “big names” get all the backing from the publishing companies, but cozy readers are incredibly loyal and do such an amazing job at PR when it comes to a writer/series they love. So thank you. Thank you for keeping our genre going and for being so tireless in supporting cozy mysteries. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!

I feel the same way, Ellery. As I’m working on my Cobble Cove books, it seems people are beginning to view them as cozies, and although I originally thought they fell into romantic suspense or general mystery, I think they might appeal more to the cozy audience because there’s no explicit violence or sex and I also focus on the characters in a small, fictional town (Cobble Cove, New York).

Thanks for joining me today, and best wishes to you on your series.

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Ali Brandon (Diane A.S. Stuckart)

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

di pink pink headshotToday, I have the pleasure of speaking with Diane A.S. Stuckart (pen name Ali Brandon) about her Black Cat Bookshop mystery series.

Hi, Diane. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
plot boiler largeCan you tell us a little bit about your Black Cat Bookshop mystery series? What gave you the idea for it and what is your latest book in it?

PLOT BOILER, my November 2015 release, is Number 5 in the series which features Hamlet the Cat and his human, Darla Pettistone. Here’s the series in a nutshell: Texas transplant Darla Pettistone inherited a Brooklyn brownstone from her late great-aunt, complete with a quirky independent bookstore known as Pettistone’s Fine Books. What Darla didn’t expect was that she’d also be the new caretaker of Hamlet, a big black cat with a cat-itude to match. But Darla soon finds that she and the ornery feline make a purr-fectly paw-some sleuthing team. As for the original idea, the premise of Hamlet came from my first editor, but the bookstore and all the other characters are mine. We wanted to give readers a return to the neighborhood bookstore, which unfortunately is an endangered species these days.

I know excactly what you mean. Your series sounds great. I’m a sucker for anything mysterious with cats and books in it, so I definitely have to add some of these books to my TBR pile. In my own novels, that some consider cozy mysteries but I think of as romantic suspense, I always try to feature at least one cat. In A STONE’S THROW, my November release and the first of my Cobble Cove novels, I have Sneaky the library cat as one of the characters. He’s Siamese like my own Oliver. I also have a dog in the book, Fido. Both pets play important yet minor roles.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

In my opinion, a successful cozy series must have good “bones”—a likable protagonist, a series “hook”, and a cast of characters that readers come to know and see as friends. While the mystery portion of the book (including its solving) is obviously a vital element, in my opinion what matters most is the interaction among the characters and how the murder affects them.

That’s a good point. I agree that cozy mysteries are character-driven. I feel my books are very much like that, as well. My main character, Alicia, is a librarian who moves to the small town of Cobble Cove and meets newspaper publisher, John, and the town’s other quirky residents. I feel the murders and other crimes that take place as the book progresses and those I hope will follow are interesting, but, as you said, it’s the characters’ interactions that feed the plot and that I believe will appeal to readers.

What are you currently working on?

After the release of Plot Boiler, I’m taking a break for the time being, but I am playing with an idea for another historical mystery series set during the Renaissance. And I still have a couple of my vintage historical romances that I intend to republish on Kindle. Hopefully we will be seeing more Hamlet mysteries to come.

Sounds good. Do you write any other genres than cozies? You mentioned historical mysteries.

Yes. I started out writing historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. After that, I contributed short fiction to several anthologies with themes ranging from mystery to fantasy. My first foray into the mystery genre was writing the (unfortunately short-lived) Leonardo da Vinci mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. And from there I started writing the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries.

Very interesting. My first published work besides the cat articles I still write was  a short mystery for Cat Crimes Through Time back when the Cat Crimes anthologies by Martin Greenberg and Ed Gorman were popular. I wrote “Stitches in Time” about Betsy Ross’ cat which I guess you would consider a historical mystery. I was so excited to have my story featured with some already famous cat mystery authors such as Carole Nelson Douglas, who I’m still in contact with today and hope to feature on a future cozy chat.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I was a journalism major in college, but before that I was on the high school newspaper and was always at the top of the class when it came to writing papers for English class. I figured I had a knack for putting words to paper and decided to give book writing a try once I left school.

Wow, Diane, we have a lot in common. I was an English major in college and Features Editor on the college newspaper, The Pioneer, at C.W. Post. I think journalism training is a great way to gain experience in writing.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I’m a founding member of the Gold Coast Paranormal Society, a volunteer organization of “ghost hunters” here in South Florida. I also collect Tarot and Lenormand card decks, and I enjoy doing “crafty” things. And, of course, I love to read.

We have even more similarities. I used to enjoy astrology and occult arts including Tarot when I was younger. I don’t dabble much in it anymore, but I always found it fun. I also used to crochet, but I don’t have much time for hobbies besides reading and writing today since I work full-time as a librarian and have a daughter now.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Rescue cats (and dogs!) make the greatest pets, a subject I try to mention in all the Hamlet books. Keep on reading, and consider adopting!

Great advice. Do you have any links you’d like to share with our readers?

www.alibrandon.com

facebook.com/blackcatbookshopmysteries

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with your future books.

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with J.B. Hawker

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

jbhawkerThis week’s Cozy Chat is with J.B. Hawker who I spoke with about her First Ladies Club series.

Hi, J.B. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about the First Ladies Club series. What gave you the idea for it?

Hi, Debbie. It’s very nice to be here, and you may call me Jonna during our chat if you’d like.

I was a pastor’s wife for twenty-five years in small towns all around the US. I met many interesting women who were also married to pastors, sometimes we formed support groups similar to the First Ladies Club, so the series was a natural. In the series I focus on the life and adventures of a different member of the club in each book. My lead character in the current book was married to a pastor, was widowed and is now a minister herself. My daughter-in-law is a clergywoman and I have good woman friends in the ministry, so I thought I’d like to share some of the joys and struggles women pastors encounter. I situated the stories in a fictional town on the Oregon Coast, similar to communities I’ve lived in. While none of my friends was ever involved in the sort of hair-raising experiences in the books, I do borrow bits of personality from people I’ve known and loved (some more than others).

That’s great, Jonna. Writing about what and who you know makes one’s writing more realistic. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

I’ve only been a published writer since 2012, so I hesitate to offer advice, but the two most important lessons I’ve learned, so far, are to be true to your passion in what you write and to know your audience. You can’t please everyone, so try to tailor your book’s cover and description to the readers who are most likely to appreciate your work. Readers’ unmet expectations can lead to poor reviews.

That sounds like excellent advice. What are you currently working on?

3d .png Body coverA Body in the Belfry came out recently, so I’m still in the throes of promotion (aargh! Why can’t readers just find my work by osmosis, anyway?), but I’ve begun outlining the next book in the series, with the working title of “A Corpse in the Chapel.” This book will highlight Judy Falls, one of the pastors’ wives introduced in the first book of the series. Judy is married to the Presbyterian pastor, Ken, who is twenty years her senior. They have twin teenage daughters. Judy is a loveable scatter-brain; bohemian, outspoken, vegan, and with a love for all creation.  One day while gathering herbs in the woods, she stumbles across a derelict chapel. She goes inside looking for some old treasure to repurpose but finds a mummified corpse, instead.

Your second book of the First Ladies Club series sounds great. Do you write any other genres than cozies?

bunnyedlerMy first series of Bunny Elder Adventures are billed as “not-quite-cozies”. “Hollow” the first book is a mystery/thriller and has a bit too much graphic gore for some readers of cozies. It features a serial killer who dismembers his victims and hides or displays their body parts in the local Halloween decorating contest displays. It is the darkest of my books, although some of the others do include intense scenes. None of my work has foul language or gratuitous violence or graphic sex. All my books are written from a Christian perspective. I have published a volume of weekly inspiration for leaders in women’s ministry, Power for Women’s Ministry Leaders, under my full name, Jonna Hawker Turek, and am working on a daily devotional for women compiled from my weekly blog, Power Walking with Jonna.

You sure stay busy. I’ve encountered that same situation with my Cobble Cove books that you did with your first series. A STONE’S THROW came out at around the time A BODY IN THE BELFRY did in November. I considered it romantic suspense, but some people are calling it a cozy mystery because, although there’s a murder, there’s no gore or violence and very mild sex. I just finished writing a sequel to it that I hope to publish this spring, so I hope I can sort out its genre by then.

Can you also tell me how you got started in writing?

Like many writers, I’ve written since I was a child, but only began publishing when I was called upon to produce church newsletters, Sunday school curriculum and ministry/programming materials. I began writing “Hollow” in 2006, on a whim. When it was finally published and won the B.R.A.G. Medallion award I was encouraged to take my writing more seriously.

Very nice. I think you’re right about many writers writing since childhood and then publishing later when circumstances allow. I did the same. In college, I wrote on the student newspaper and published the library school graduate newsletter. I later wrote articles for magazines. I self-published CLOUDY RAINBOW in 2004 but it wasn’t until I published A STONE’S THROW this year by LIMITLESS PUBLISHING that I seriously got into writing and promoting my work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all this effort pays off, but I love it.

Back to you. What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love to sew, cook, garden, sing and paint. Almost anything creative, I suppose.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Although I write about Christians, these characters have the same flaws as the rest of us. They stumble and fall and fail to live up to their own ideals, sometimes, but they cling to the hope of forgiveness and keep trying. I hope people reading my books will be encouraged and well as being entertained.

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today Joanna. Good luck with both your series and any other projects you have planned for the future.

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Leighann Dobbs

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

Today, I  have the pleasure of speaking with Leighann Dobbs about her Blackmoore Sisters Paranormal Cozy mystery series.

cover-lgeDeadWrong (1)Hi, Leigh Ann. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Blackmoore Sisters series? What gave you the idea for it?

The series focuses on four sisters who have paranormal gifts. I’ve always loved the idea of being gifted somehow but sadly am not blessed that way so I live vicariously through my characters.  One sisters sees ghosts, another has powers with healing crystals, another has amped up intuition and the forth can read auras, see energy trails and do powerful things with energy.  Oh, and of course there is a cat that has her own powers 🙂

That sounds very interesting. I love paranormal themes, and cats always add a great touch to cozies. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Plotting out a good story with lots of action and conflict is key. For me, I have to really think about the plot so I can add the appropriate foreshadowing, clues and red herrings. 

I have started to see that myself as I’m finishing the second mystery based on A Stone’s Throw.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new release planned soon? If so, please provide details about it. Is it part of the series or the start of something else or a standalone?

I just completed book 7 in the Blackmoore series, Spell Found, where the girls go to Salem Mass in search of an ancient relic.  It released in early December.

Sounds great. Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I also write historical romance and am starting a romantic suspense series in 2016 that I will be co-writing with two other authors.

Nice. Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader and being an author was a dream for me. But I never thought I could write books anyone would want to read, so I spent most of my life as a software engineer. When Amazon opened up the world of self-publishing I gave it a try and now here I am with over 25 self published books.

That’s quite an accomplishment. Many writers, including myself, are voracious readers. As a librarian and author, I’m involved in books in both my occupations. I agree that self-publishing has opened up many doors to authors. I self-published, Cloudy Rainbow, my first novel but opted to publish A Stone’s Throw with Limitless Publishing.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing and reading?

I like gardening, drawing and antiquing.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Just that I appreciate every single person that has taken a chance on me and read my books- my readers are the best!

I feel the same way. The reason we authors work so hard promoting our books is to share them with readers. Without an audience, our writing would be meaningless.

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, Leighann, and good luck with your Blackmoore Sisters series and the new one you are working on.

Thanks. Also, Dead Wrong, the first book in the Blackmoore Sisters series, is currently available free on Amazon.

Good to know. I may download a copy. Thanks again, and Happy Holidays to you!

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with L.J.M. Owen

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

OlmecObituary_cover_HIRES (1)Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with L.J.M Owen about Olmec Obituary, Book One in the Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series. It is a planned cozy mystery series of 9 books.

Hi, L.J.M. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

 

 

2015-12-03 22.12.07 Can you tell us a little bit about this new series? What gave you the idea for it?

Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth is the story of an archaeologist/librarian who solves ancient mysteries from across the globe, with plenty of forensic science, culinary exploration and historic trivia along the way. There are ancient libraries, modern libraries, cats and – of course – recipes in the back.

Book One in the series, Olmec Obituary, introduces Dr Elizabeth Pimms as she struggles with a job she doesn’t want, a family she both loves and resents, and the volatile excavation director of a royal Olmec cemetery. Amid seventeen concealed skeletons, an evolving mental library and Welsh soup Elizabeth strives to determine cause of death for a 3,000 year old athlete before being fired.

2015-12-03 22.28.50This first mystery, and the second one, feature the archaeology of ancient Mexico. The remainder of the series will explore the ancient cultures, homicides and libraries of Egypt, Mongolia, Persia, India, China, Britain and Crete.

My original inspiration for the series was a sense of wanting to give back.

Like many quiet, studious children I never quite fit into the world around me. I spent much of my childhood escaping into storyworlds created by others. As an adult, tired, stressed and overworked, I continued to snatch an hour or two in those otherworlds to recharge my batteries.

As a writer I realized I wanted to construct another space for readers to escape to. I figured the most sensible course of action was to draw on what I knew. I have a degree in archaeology, a degree in library management and a PhD in palaeogenetics, so felt most comfortable writing about these subjects. I could also indulge my love affair with other cultures, past and present.

And like many, I am intrigued by the classic whodunit. I love to pit my reasoning skills against the fictional detective of the hour.

So Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth was born. It’s a mix of the archaeology of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series, the forensic science of Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series and the cozy setting of TV series such as Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. With more libraries.

My hope is, ultimately, that the Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series becomes another place of refuge for readers everywhere.

How very interesting. I don’t know if you know that I’m a librarian as well as an author, and your series sounds especially appealing to me – cats and libraries how can you go wrong?

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Read the books you love. Read the kind of books you want to write. Study the basics of storyworld, character, plot and theme. Sit down and write for at least an hour a day. Research how to improve your writing. Rinse and repeat.

Remember that if you love what you write chances are someone else will too. Some people will also hate it. That’s just how it works. The important thing is to know exactly what sort of book you have written and make it clear to potential readers to increase the chances so that the people who pick it up have a good chance of liking it.

That’s exactly what I believe, too. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Book Two in the series, Mayan Mendacity, which sees Dr Pimms contend with the maimed skeleton of a Mayan warrior, a vengeful Tikal Queen, the Phantom of the Stacks and an intruder in her phrenic library. I can’t wait to finish writing it! I’d like to release it ahead of Christmas next year.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I’ve started work on a range of short stories in other sub-genres of crime but at the moment I’m having too much fun with cozies with an archaeological twist.

I don’t blame you. I’ve written some short stories I’d like to gather into a collection one day, but they are very different than “A Stone’s Throw,” and I’m working on a sequel to that right now. My publisher, Limitless Publishing, is planning to put out a holiday anthology next year, and I’m hoping to contribute to that.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I worked through some online writing courses and read widely on how to develop rich, rounded characters. I prepared the overarching storylines for the whole series and developed full character sketches for the top twenty characters in the series.

As I’m a very planned writer I love the ‘snowflake method’ developed by Randy Ingermanson, which he provides free on his website (just Google ‘snowflake method’). When it came to drafting Olmec Obituary I followed this method fairly closely.

To be honest, for me, it turned out that the process of writing was as natural as breathing. It’s everything else that goes along with being a writer that I struggle with. Typesetting, printing, distribution, marketing, PR and social media were far more challenging for me than writing.

I feel exactly the same. And, coincidentally, I also took online writing classes my library offered through Gale Courses before I wrote my novel. I’ve never heard of the snowflake method, but I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the info.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love investigating many branches of archaeology and history. I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting with a huge range of recipes – under strict feline supervision, of course!

lol. Cats do like to observe us humans

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

As I’m Australian the series is written in British English. If a reader is used to American English I think this enhances their experience of escaping to another time and place, but I know some readers who prefer American English like to know about the slightly different spelling upfront.

Here’s a few links for readers of your blog who are interested in Olmec Obituary.

Paperback copies from Book Depository with Free International Shipping: http://bit.ly/1IR0H30

e-copies from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XRgTNG

The Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book Series Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1N8nyej

A Booklover Book Review: http://bit.ly/21LokWl

The Goodreads entry (with reviews): http://bit.ly/1QbUrub

Happy reading!

Wonderful! Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with the series.

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cat Writer's Association, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Patricia Fry

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

FryThis week’s Cozy Chat is with Patricia Fry who I spoke with about her Klepto Cat Mysteries.

Hi, Patricia. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Klepto Cat Mysteries? What gave you the idea for it?

I’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years. I started out writing articles for magazines and have had hundreds of articles published in around 300 different publications. I have also produced 41 nonfiction books—most of them books for authors on topics such as publishing and book promotion. My latest book for authors is “Propose Your Book, How to Craft Persuasive Proposals for Nonfiction, Fiction, and Children’s Books.” (Allworth Press, 2015)

In June of 2012, I decided to give myself a birthday gift—the time and space to try writing fiction. I knew my stories would be light (cozy) mysteries and they would involve cats. I have a cat who takes my things—lingerie out of my drawers, small stuffed bears off the shelves, etc. She has a whole collection of stuffed toys that she carries around. So I decided to create a cat character who can’t keep his paws off other people’s things and who seems to have a knack for discovering clues to the various mysteries occurring locally. Hence the series title, The Klepto Cat Mysteries.

Rags, the klepto cat, is also patterned after my mother’s cat who is quite confident, strong-willed, creative, and has a sense of humor. Rags (Ragsdale) belongs to Michael and Savannah Ivey, who are veterinarians in Northern California. He has many human and cat friends who help keep the stories interesting and lively. By the way, there are no talking cats. Rags, for example, is an ordinary cat with some extraordinary habits.

CWA member and artist, Bernadette Kazmarski designs the beautiful covers for the Klepto Cat Mysteries.

That’s awesome. I’m a member of the Cat Writer’s Association, as well.  Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

I’ve been offering advice through workshops and presentations at writer’s conferences, etc. for years. Probably the most important thing a writer must understand, if he or she wants to publish and sell their work, is the marketing concept. Know who your audience is, where they are, and how to approach them. Write for that audience and plan your marketing strategy far in advance. A book is not like a baseball field where if you build it they will come. It takes an enormous amount of thought, planning, time, and effort to write the right book for a particular audience, then to promote it successfully to that audience.

Excellent advice. What are you currently working on?

Picture Purrfect Christmas-cover-1000pxA Picture-Purrfect Christmas,” number 13 in the Klepto Cat Mystery series is already available. I have number 14 proofed/edited and almost ready to go and I’m starting the process of fleshing out book number 15. I keep thinking I’ll run out of ideas, but once I sit down at the computer, a new story just seems to flow from me. I must say, I’m addicted to the process.

I know the feeling. I’m working on the sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” right now. I don’t know if it’s going to end up a series, but I have lots of other ideas for other books, as well. Authors like you with so many titles under your belts inspire me to keep at it.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

As I said, I have written nonfiction for years—the how-to, informational, self-help, historical, profile piece, and so forth. From the very beginning of my career, I was fascinated by article-writing. I spent several years prior to writing my first article, studying the industry and the type of material I wanted to write. I started my article-writing career writing for horse magazines. My first book was on horse care. I’ve also written for Cats Magazine, Cat Fancy, ASPCA Animal Watch, Woman’s World, Health, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest, and many others. I had no interest in writing fiction, until three years ago and now I’m hooked. It’s all I want to do.

I’ve written for cat magazines as well and am still doing some work for Catster.com and my local paper, but I do prefer fiction.

Patricia, can you also tell me how you got started in writing?

I married young and soon had three little girls. My husband and I didn’t have much money and couldn’t afford greeting cards and gifts, so I’d make cards to send for family birthdays, Christmas, and other occasions. People loved the verses I wrote inside. When my grandmother was injured in a car accident in another state, I was unable to visit her, so I wrote to her several times a week. She praised my letters—said they were so well-written. I enjoyed the compliments and I enjoyed the process. I decided that when my daughters were older, I would become a writer. And writing has been my passion and my livelihood over the past 40 years.

What an interesting story. What are your hobbies besides writing?

I enjoy gardening, but things have changed here in CA with the drought. Instead of nurturing sweet flowering plants, I’m becoming addicted to growing succulents, making succulent wreaths and so forth. I walk every day and have for many years. I can sew and do needlework, but have put those hobbies on the backburner. I’m still available to mend or alter clothing items for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I do love our cats. We currently have three—all rescues. There’s Lily, one of 15 kittens born to 3 feral mother cats one spring. Sophie lived on the streets in a colony until she was rescued at 10 weeks old. We found Max in our woodpile and worked endless hours to socialize him. He’s 17 and a half now and loves lap-sitting.

I’ve begun walking myself. It definitely helps clear your mind and is great exercise. Some of the other authors I’ve spoken with on Cozy Chat have rescue cats, too. 

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Picture Purrfect Christmas-cover-1000pxAll 13 of the Klepto Cat Mysteries are formatted for Kindle and to date, 9 of them are in print. We brought out the Christmas story this year in print and for Kindle. All available at Amazon. You can also order them along with note cards featuring some of the beautiful covers from my publishing website: http://www.matilijapress.com/Klepto-Cat-Mysteries 

That sounds great. I have a Kindle, although I still read print books. I also order mysteries for our library and will definitely check to see if we carry your series. The note cards sound nice, too. You can never have enough cat decorated items – lol.

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, good luck with all your writing projects, and Happy Holidays.