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!

 

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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.

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

Cozy Chat with Carolyn Haines

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.

My second Cozy Chat author is Carolyn Haines who I spoke with about her cozy Christmas e-short story “Jingle Bones” from her Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series.

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

rock-a-bye bones jacket revisejingle bones cover

Can you tell us a little bit about the Sarah Booth Delaney Series? What gave you the idea for it? 

I had finished a two-book contract with Dutton, and I was sitting at my computer watching my horses graze, thinking about ideas for a book. I heard these two women bickering. One was really bossy. I sat down and started typing their conversation, because I knew I’d been gifted with a story to tell. As it turned out, one character was Sarah Booth Delaney, who’d returned to Zinnia, Mississippi, after a failed career on Broadway. The other was Jitty, a 150-year-old ghost from the Civil War era. Jitty functions as Sarah Booth’s conscience. 

In an effort to save Dahlia House, Sarah Booth’s home, she takes a case investigating a wealthy man who everyone believes killed is mother when he was a young boy. And so THEM BONES was the first in what turned out to be a mystery series.

What about Jingle Bones, can you tell us a bit about that? I understand it’s a short mystery only available digitally?

Oh yes. Two very bad young boys, Lord Darcy and Heathcliff. Are accused of stealing the baby Jesus from a church manger scene. The goal is to keep them out of the Christmas pageant because they are so disruptive. But the boys extract their own brand of revenge and Sarah Booth and Tinkie are in the middle of it. It’s on sale now, and people can purchase it from Amazon.

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

Write what you love. This is too much work to write about characters you don’t love. After nearly two decades writing about Sarah Booth and the Zinnia gang, they are close friends. I enjoy spending time with them, and it’s a good thing because they’re a big part of my daily life. Read good writers, study the craft, and revise, revise, revise.

I agree completely. I grew so fond of my characters in A Stone’s Throw that I’ve started a sequel. I’m not sure if it will turn into a series, but I think it has at least one or two more possibilities.

What are you currently working on?

I’m editing ROCK-A-BYE BONES, which will be the 16th Sarah Booth mystery. It will be released in May, 2016, by St. Martin’s Press. And I’m finishing the first book in a new series, a paranormal/historical/mystery, which I’m very excited about.

That sounds wonderful. Maybe we can schedule another chat to discuss that.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Yes, I write darker crime stories (under Carolyn Haines) and I also write horror as R.B.Chesterton.

I didn’t know that. I know you also used to write under Carolyn Burnes for your “Fear Familiar” series, one of my favorites because I love cat mysteries. I understand you may be reprinting some of those. Can you share a few details about that? Also, can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I am working to bring the first Familiar book back into print and digital. I’ll probably re-publish under Carolyn Haines.

I grew up in a family of journalists, and I’ve written for publication since I was very young. I’ve always been a big reader, and I loved Southern writers. I was greatly influenced by Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Doris Betts. I wrote short stories and in a strange turn of events, obtained a literary agent who told me to write a novel. I thought it was nuts, but I had a story I really wanted to tell, so I gave it a try.

Most of the authors I speak with have also been writing since they were young including myself. All of us also love to read.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I rescue animals, and I run a small sanctuary on a farm where I live. I have horses, cats, and dogs. And I work hard to raise awareness for the need to spay and neuter companion pets. Last year Good Fortune Farm Refuge sold cookbooks based on the Bones characters and we raised money to spay/neuter over 100 animals. There are so many unwanted animals who needlessly suffer and die. It doesn’t have to be this way. And I also teach fiction writing at a university. I like to stay busy.

How awesome. I have great respect for animal rescuers. It’s a tough but very rewarding job.

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

I am a terribly practical joker. I love to torment my friends. But I’m also a good friend.

My website is www.carolynhaines.com

 Great info. I will check out your website. Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with all your writing projects and animal rescue work.

 

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

Cozy Chat with T.C. LoTempio

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.

The first guest I have the pleasure of speaking with for a Cozy Chat is T.C. (Toni) LoTiempo about her cat cozy mystery series, Nick and Nora. The second book in this series, “Claws for Alarm” is being released on Tuesday, November 3rd.

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

image013 image014

Can you tell us a little bit about the Nick and Nora series? What gave you the idea for it?

Nick and Nora is a takeoff on the old ‘Thin Man’ series, only instead of a man and a woman, it’s  cat and a woman. J  Nora Charles is an ex-true crime reporter who returns to her hometown of Cruz, California to take over her deceased mother’s sandwich shop.  Along the way she adopts a tuxedo cat that she names Nick (or is it the other way around???).  Nick belonged to a PI who is currently MIA, and he and Nora have a flair for solving mysteries in common. I actually got the idea from my ex-supervisor at my day job, who told me I should quit writing about vampires and write a book about my cat.  Apparently he was right!

Very interesting. I’m especially fond of cat cozies. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Writing requires a great deal of patience and a thick skin. If you can’t take rejection, best to find another profession.  The best way to get published is to keep writing, writing and reading, reading.

I agree completely. What are you currently working on?

The Next Nick and Nora, and the first book in a new series.

After “Claws for Alarm,” when will the 3rd Nick and Nora be released?

Nick and Nora #3 will be out December 2016. Nora gets involved searching for a woman’s missing niece, and is still trying to locate Nick’s former human, missing PI Nick Atkins.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Yes – I actually started out writing horror, and had a few novels published by a small press (they are currently out of print, and I have the rights back).  I’ve self published a few paranormal suspense novel that were moderately successful.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I’ve been writing on and off since I was ten years old.

Same here. Many writers begin at an early age, but, of course publishing comes later. What are your hobbies besides writing?

I used to bowl, but back problems sidelined that. I love reading, and I love playing with my three cats.

Seems we have a lot in common, Toni. I love to read and play with my two cats, too. Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

roccoROCCO has a blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com, where we interview authors and have giveaways twice a month at least.  ROCCO also reviews cozies for Night Owl, and I’m the suspense columnist!  We also do fundraising for the charity co-founded by Nathan Fillion of Castle fame, Kids Need to Read, and have a charity auction every summer.

Great info. I will check out the blog. Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with your Nick and Nora mysteries and other books and series.