Posted in Cozy Mysteries

Book Review: Cozy Food Edited by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

This cookbook features recipes by 128 cozy mystery authors. The Table of Contents lists the recipes by category: Starters and Beverages, Pasta and Casseroles, Main Course Dishes, Veggies and Side Dishes, Desserts and Pies, etc. Each category section is illustrated with a cozy graphic. The recipes feature ingredients and instructions as well as the books and page numbers where the recipe was originally listed. An alphabetical list of author biographies is located at the back of the book along with websites and social media links of the contributing writers.

A perfect read for the holidays for those who enjoy cozy mysteries and cooking. This is a resource that can also be used all year to expand your recipe and mystery book collection. I found many interesting recipes that I’d like to try myself including  Maggie’s Lasagna, Shepherd’s Pie, Cashew Chicken, Sweet Potato Casserole, Make Ahead Caramel French “Toast,” Killer Quiche Lorraine, Nana’s Cream Puffs, Deep in the Black Forest Cupcakes, and Classic New York Cheesecake. I even found some recipes for my cats: Kitty Cat Tuna Crackers and Catnip Burgers.

This book is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Cozy Food:
128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes
by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

About Cozy Food


Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes
Cozy Cookbook
Good Read Mysteries (May 15, 2014)
Number of Pages: 241 (167 of recipes, 70 of contributor bios and books)
ISBN-10: 0983589178
ISBN-13: 978-0983589174
Kindle ASIN: B00KGZSEQ6

What happens when 128 cozy mystery writers get together to do a cookbook? You get more than 220 recipes that are as varied and interesting as an amateur sleuth’s day job.

Regional recipes come from every part of the United States and England — a couple find their way from Australia and Italy, too — and from diverse times. There are recipes from people looking to keep gluten out of their lives, eat vegetarian, or make a treat or two for their furry four-legged friends. And yes, there are recipes that appeal to the sweet tooth, lots of them, in fact.

There’s no mystery about what happens when cozy writers get together. They bring the wit, inventiveness, and adventure found in their books right along with their recipes.

The recipes are introduced by their authors and linked to the writer bios in the back of the book.
You can look up your favorite cozy writer and see which recipes are their favorites; they’ll tell you what the recipe means to them. Or you can enjoy a dish and then link to the recipe’s author’s biography and books.

Either way you enjoy the cookbook, you’re sure to find great new recipes to make and terrific new cozy authors to read.

Contributing Authors: Sparkle Abbey, Ellery Adams, (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley) Judy Alter, Marian Allen, Ritter Ames, Donna Andrews, Traci Andrighetti, Amy Beth Arkawy, Mignon F. Ballard, Sandra Balzo, JoAnn Bassett, Cynthia Baxter, (aka Cynthia Blair) Jenna Bennett, (aka Jennie Bentley) Sally Berneathy, (aka Sally Carleen, Sally Steward, Sara Garrett) Maggie Bishop, Cindy Blackburn, Juliet Blackwell, Susan Furlong Bollinger, Sheila Webster Boneham, Laura Bradford, Frances Brody, Duffy Brown, Joyce Ann Brown, Mollie Bryan, B.B. Cantwell, Laurie Cass, (aka Laura Alden) Nancy J. Cohen, Shelley Costa, Judith Cutler, Rebecca (aka R.P.) Dahlke, Kathi Daley, Kathleen Delaney, Diana Dempsey, Pamela Frost Dennis, Lesley A. Diehl, Leighann Dobbs, Vicki Doudera, Pamela DuMond, Carola Dunn, Jean Erhardt, Chloe Evans, Monica Ferris, (aka Margaret Frazer, Mary Monica Pulver, Mary Kuhfeld) Judy Fitzwater, Chris Forman, Kaye George, Sally Goldenbaum, Barbara Graham, Sarah Graves, Carolyn Haines, (aka R.B. Chesterton) Vinnie Hansen, Traci Hilton, Sibel Hodge, Valerie Horowitz, Mary Ellen Hughes, Linda Joffe Hull, Ellen Elizabeth Hunter, Dawn Greenfield Ireland, Melanie Jackson, Holly Jacobs, Miranda James, (aka Dean James) Nancy Lynn Jarvis, Heather Justesen, Pamela Kelley, E.E. Kennedy, Mary Kennedy, Josi S. Kilpack, Kelly Klepfer, (aka Michelle Griep, Ellie Marks) Barbara Lee Cool, Marilyn Levinson, Liz Lipperman, Gail Lukasik, Elaine Macko, Sylvia Massara, Sonja Massie, (aka G.A. McKevett) Edith Maxwell, (aka Tace Baker) Lorena McCourtney, Marja McGraw, Eileen Haavik McIntire, Staci McLaughlin, Catriona McPherson, Camille Minichino, (aka Margaret Grace, Ada Madison) Marie Moore, Ruth Moose, Amy Myers, Tamar Myers, Christa Nardi, Radine Trees Nehring, Kerri Nelson, Clare O’Donohue, Diana Orgain, Joyce Oroz, Elaine L. Orr, Helen Osterman, Gail Oust, K.B. Owen, Sharon Pape, Nancy J. Parra, (aka Nancy J. Coco) Allison Cesario Paton, Joanne Pence, Maggie Pill, Ann Purser, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, (aka Melissa Bourbon) Nanci Rathbun, Rosalee Richland, Becky Lyn Rickman, Karen Robbins, Carolyn J. Rose, Pamela Rose, Cindy Sample, June Shaw, Connie Shelton, Clea Simon, Joanna Campbell Slan, Karen Rose Smith, Lane Stone, Maria Grazia Swan, Denise Swanson, Marcia Talley, Nancy Jill Thames, Sharon Burch Toner, Elaine Viets, Lea Wait, Wendy Lyn Watson, (aka Annie Knox) Christine Wenger, Gayle Wigglesworth, Lois Winston, Joan H. Young, Suzanne Young

About Editor Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years before she fell in love with writing and let her license lapse.

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years, a philosophy she applies to her writing, as well. She has written seven Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries; a stand-alone novel “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarian bank robbers; edited “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” and a short story anthology, “Santa Cruz Weird;” and even done a little insider’s book, “The Truth About Hosting Airbnb” about her first year as a host.

Her newest venture is “The Glass House” is the first book in a planned series of PIP Inc. Mysteries. Now she’s trying to figure out when to work on another series she’d love to do called “Geezers with Tools” about two older handymen who will solve mysteries in the course of doing their work, and setting up writer retreats at her house.

Editor Links

Website – https://www.nancylynnjarvis.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nancylynnjarvis

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2918242.Nancy_Lynn_Jarvis

Purchase – Amazon – Kindle – Amazon Paperback

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Series, Spotlight

Spotlight for A Bad Hair Day Cookbook by Nancy J. Cohen

A Bad Hair Day Cookbook:
Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series
by Nancy J. Cohen

About the Book


A Bad Hair Day Cookbook: Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series
Cozy Cookbook
Orange Grove Press (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 324 pages
ISBN-10: 099979325X
ISBN-13: 978-0999793251
Digital ASIN: B07XSH6C7B

Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.

Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes. Bonuses Include:

•Meet the Sleuth
•Introduction by Marla Vail
•Cooking Tips
•Excerpts from Series Titles
•Themed Menu Suggestions
•“A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother

For Home Cooks, Food Lovers, Mystery Fans and Cookbook Collectors

Recipes are listed in these categories:

APPETIZERS
BEVERAGES
BREADS
SAUCES
SOUPS
ENTREES – BEEF
ENTREES – LAMB
ENTREES – POULTRY
ENTREES – FISH
ENTREES – VEGETARIAN
SIDE DISHES
DESSERTS

“Reading through this cookbook has revived my interest in getting back in the kitchen.” Rhonda Gilliland, Author and Editor of the Cooked to Death Series

“Designed for busy cooks who may not be out solving crimes, but whose time is equally challenged.” Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Mysteries and cookbooks belong side by side on readers’ shelves. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook serves up both food and justice.” Christine A. Jackson, Ph.D., Author of Myth and Ritual in Women’s Detective Fiction

APPLE RUM CAKE

I like this recipe that uses an easy cake mix and prepared pie filling. When you don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen, convenience matters. Whip this up to impress your dinner guests and serve with vanilla ice cream for extra pizzazz.

Ingredients

15.25 oz. box spice cake mix

21 oz. can apple pie filling

3 eggs

¾ cup light sour cream

¼ cup rum

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. almond extract

2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

⅔ cup powdered sugar

2 tsp. reduced fat milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 1 Tbsp. cake mix and 1½ cups of pie filling. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, rum, canola oil, almond extract, remaining cake mix and pie filling. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour half the batter into a greased fluted cake pan. In a separate small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, reserved 1 Tbsp. cake mix and pie filling. Spoon over batter. Top with remaining batter. Bake for 45 minutes.

Cool on rack. Invert cake onto plate. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk. Dribble over cake as a glaze. Slice and serve.

About Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won a Readers’ Favorite gold medal, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy’s instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery, was nominated for an Agatha Award and won a gold medal at the President’s Book Awards from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

Author Links

Website: https://nancyjcohen.com

Blog: https://nancyjcohen.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nancyjcohen

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyjcohen

Instagram: https://instagram.com/nancyjcohen

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/njcohen/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nancy-j-cohen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nancyjcohen

Purchase Links – Amazon Kindle Amazon Print Apple Books Nook Kobo Books2Read BookBub Goodreads

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November 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

November 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

November 22 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

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November 24 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

November 24 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT

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November 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 26 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 27 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

November 27 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW

November 28 – THANKSGIVING – OFF

November 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, RECIPE

November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – REVIEW

November 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, holidays

Happy Cozy Mystery Day!

We celebrate International Cozy Mystery day on September 15, the birthday of Agatha Christie. For those who don’t know what a cozy mystery is, it’s the type of writing that Ms. Christie was famous for. It involves murder of the less gory kind and an absence of explicit sex and violence. It usually takes place in a small town. There can be recipes or pets as central themes in the mystery along with an off-scene murder to solve and a cast of quirky characters with interesting professions.

I write a cozy mystery series called. Cobble Cove mysteries, for the name of the fictional town in which they are set. It includes a librarian and a library cat. A reviewer of the first book of the series, A Stone’s Throw, termed the story, “Agatha Christie meets a small town librarian.”


My recent standalone mystery, Sea Scope, was reviewed as “Imagine Agatha Christie Writing a Psychological Thriller.”

People enjoy reading cozy mysteries because they become familiar with the characters and like the settings. Some of my favorite cozies feature cats, as do mine. I’ve enjoyed fellow Cat Writer’s Association members books such as Carole Nelson Douglas‘ Midnight Louis series, Shirley Rousseau’s Joe Grey tales, and, Mollie Hunt’s Crazy Cat Lady series. For food-related mysteries, I like Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson mysteries. Mary Feliz, who provided some of the graphics included in this post, is a fellow Sisters-in-Crime member, and also a cozy mystery author who writes the Maggie McDonald series that features a Golden Retriever. Another SINC member, Marilyn Levinson who writes as Allison Brook writes a cozy that features a librarian and a ghost. Her latest in the Haunted Library series, Buried in the Stacks, was just released. A fellow author from Next Chapter, James J. Cudney IV, writes mysteries taking place on college campuses. The fifth book in his Braxton Campus mysteries, Haunted House Ghost, was also just released.

Do you have a favorite cozy mystery author or series, or haven’t you read a cozy mystery yet? Have you read any of mine? I’d love to hear your comments.

 

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Died in the Wool, A Whiskey Business Mystery, by Melinda Mullet

Melinda Mullet – Died in the Wool Blog Tour

Alright, I’ll admit it — I have a borderline obsession with sheep.

I adore them. They are essentially overgrown dogs with the sweetest ruminative faces and tails that can wag when they are pleased to see you. In all honesty, I’ve tried to convince my husband that raising sheep in rural New Zealand is a viable retirement plan for the two of us. I mean you have to love a country where sheep outnumber humans by 7 to 1. But, so far he isn’t going for it.

Sheep are amazing animals. Consider the following fun facts offered up by Dave Thomas, retired head of sheep studies at the University of Wisconsin. (Yes, that is a legitimate occupation and perhaps my next career move if this writing thing doesn’t pan out.) Dave tells us that:

  • Sheep have very good memories. They can remember at least 50 individual sheep and humans for years. (Better than most humans I know.)
  • Sheep have rectangular pupils that give them amazing peripheral vision that helps to keep them safe from predators. The field of vision is somewhere between 270 and 320 degrees. (Humans average a mere 155 degrees.)
  • Some sheep are gay. (No, really.) While there are instances of homosexuality in almost all animal species, sheep are the only animals besides humans that show a same-sex preference for life. In any flock up to 8% of males prefer other males.
  • Woodrow Wilson kept a flock of sheep on the White House lawn during World War I to keep the grass trimmed as a cost-cutting measure and to show support for the war effort.
  • Sheep can display emotions usually reflected in the position of their ears. They can feel stress and isolation and will show signs of depression similar to humans.
  • Contrary to popular belief, sheep are extremely intelligent animals capable of problem solving. They can differentiate facial expressions and prefer smiles to frowns.

Naturally, these intelligent creatures figure prominently in my stories.  Died in the Wool, the fourth book in the Whisky Business Mystery Series, finds whisky distiller Abi Logan continuing to act as foster parent to a growing flock of sheep saved from being turned into c-h-o-p-s. All named for authors, Agatha (Christie) and Oscar (Wilde) have become deeply attached to their foster mother and live adjacent to the house.

Agatha and Oscar are protective, and like all sheep know their names and will respond when called. Aside from being guard sheep when necessary the flock is producing their share of wool. (A single sheep can produce up to thirty pounds of wool a year. Once pound of wool can make ten miles of yarn.) As if Abi didn’t get tangled up enough in the mysteries she solves, her flock is churning out more than 3,000 miles of wool a year.  Something has to give.

Abi is forced to find an outlet for the wool and becomes involved with a charity for women who are victims of domestic abuse that is funded by the proceeds of an artisan knitting cooperative. Abi donates her wool and her energies to the shelter known as the Shepherd’s Rest, but soon finds herself knee deep in a mystery.  As she tries to unravel a murder and a kidnapping at the shelter it becomes clear that at least on of the shelter’s benefactors is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Watch as Abi and her wooly wordsmiths solve the case before things go from baaad to worse!

Died in the Wool:
A Whisky Business Mystery
by Melinda Mullet

About the Book


Died in the Wool: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Alibi (June 18, 2019)
Print Length ~300 pages
Digital ASIN: B07GN17SQJ

No good deed goes unpunished in the Whisky Business cozy mystery series as distillery owner Abigail Logan uncovers dark secrets—and murder—at a local charity.

Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.

But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM | DIED IN THE WOOL

About the Author

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links

Website – http://melindamullet.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mulletmysteries/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

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June 17 – ThisIsMyTruthNow – REVIEW

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June 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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June 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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June 29 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

June 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post Recipe and Blog Tour for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Murder, A Cast Iron Skillet Mystery, by Jodi Rath

Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds* removed and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk, or buttermilk** to equal 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*** plus bit more for top before baking
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar

*see Notes

Instructions

  1. Place diced jalapeños in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack. Preheat oven to 400°F and leave skillet with jalapeños in oven as it preheats. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon,**** just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cooled jalapeños. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Spoon batter into hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese. Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

*If you like your food extra spicy, then leave the seeds in the jalapeños.

**This means you add the corn kernels to a measuring cup first, then pour in the milk until the milk rises to the 1 1/2 cup level. (I was not able to find buttermilk at my local store. If you have the same problem, then you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every one cup of milk.)

***I’m a cheese lover—I added an extra half cup of cheese!

****I tried the recipe mixing with a wooden spoon and again using my Kitchenette mixer. Call me crazy, but I truly believe it tasted better when using the wooden spoon to stir ingredients.

This recipe was adapted from seasonsandsuppas.ca and foodiecrush.com.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder
(The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About the Book


Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
MYS ED LLC (June 21, 2019)
Digital ASIN: B07Q1K4DN3

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

About the Author

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Author Links: Webpage: https://www.jodirath.com/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodirath FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath Twitter @jodirath

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jodi-rath

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jodirath/

  • Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdbGet Short Story “Sweet Retreat” for free by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive free flash fiction, A Mystery a Month, serial scenes from series, and deleted scenes).

Purchase Links – Amazon

All other e-platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bOAYyK

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Guest Post and Blog Tour for Deco Dames, Demon Rum, and Death, A Jazz Age Mystery by Ellen Mansoor Collier

TOOT YOUR HORN:   CREATIVE MARKETING For INDIES

                     By:  Ellen Mansoor Collier, Author of the Jazz Age mystery series

As an independent author, I admit, my dream was to see my books for sale on shelves in upscale stores, bookshops and retail outlets—not just online. So I tried “creative” ways of marketing, and looked for specialty gift shops and regional stores that also sold books.

I found out the hard way that traditional bookstores or shops are NOT interested in self-published books, unless you’re already rich and famous. Hard to compete with thousands of books anyway, especially if you’re an unknown.  I’ve had bookshop managers compliment my books while shoving me out the door, figuratively speaking. Small book stores tend to feel that Amazon is driving them out of business, and the larger chains think indies are trying to sneak in the back way, without being “vetted.”

The fact that I’ve made my living as a professional journalist doesn’t matter to them. Sadly, they assume independent books mean low-quality or inferior writing and cover design. I’ve worked in publishing almost all my life—besides, my brother is an artist, and I have several editor friends who were willing to review my novels.  In addition, my mother was a writer and excellent editor, as well as a former World History teacher. So I thought, why not publish my books the way I want and retain creative control, plus all my rights?

Since my novels are about 1920s Galveston, I naturally approached shops and hotels in the area and either called or left a copy of FLAPPERS, the first novel in my series. First I started with small, independent business who were happy to accept my books on consignment.  Sadly, the trouble with mom-and-pop stores is they often don’t have the budget or space to keep your books in stock and on display.  (Getting paid can be a tug-of- war, so now I usually require payment upfront.)

Luckily  bookstores often advertise regional books and sponsor book-signings for local authors. I’ve even done book signings at “Roaring Twenties”-themed fundraisers and art gallery parties just by asking—and donated part of my proceeds (usually 20-25).  I also sold my books at an area casino hotel/gift shop just by dropping off FLAPPERS with the staff. During a follow up call, I suggested to the manager that she give my books a try with a small order—which she did!

At first, a major mystery bookstore seemed reluctant to give my books a try, but by the time I’d written a couple of new titles, the tides had turned and suddenly indies were more “socially acceptable,”  if not hot. Still some of the staff remained wary, so it was gratifying when their first order of 25 books sold out in three weeks. Note: Many shops will wait until all books have sold before they reorder, so be prepared for a long wait. I’d suggest a small order at first, especially if the books are on consignment.

In Galveston, I noticed the luxury hotels on the Seawall sold lots of beachy items, but they didn’t have any novels for sale. The retail manage told me to contact the corporate office, which I did a YEAR later. Long story short, I was too chicken to contact them immediately but followed up after my fourth book—and got a call from the regional merchandising manager (sadly he soon left the company). Turns out the retail manager enjoyed FLAPPERS and wanted to start selling it in their hotel gift shops. The regional manager became interested later when he found out I had a series available and ordered 24 copies of each book (96)!  Timing is everything in this business!

Last year, a friend suggested I try a well-known restaurant with a new attached gift shop—that I didn’t know existed. The manager ordered 40 copies of my books—and placed a second order six weeks later. Naturally summer is my best season and sales during the fall and winter often lag.

My advice for indies, young or old, is to identify the factors that make your books unique: is it the setting, the theme, the characters, the storyline? Then contact the stores that fit into those categories. Most cozy mysteries seem to center around a hobby or activity—if your novels are about animals or food or fashion or sports or antiques, try pet shops, bakeries, restaurants, unique clothing boutiques, sports shops or antique malls—even quilt or knitting shops—that cater to the clientele you’d like to reach. Is your book about a certain collectible or is it historical?  Perhaps a specialty gift shop, museum or tea room, even a B&B or boutique hotel or spa may want to offer your books.  Corporate chains and hotels are difficult retail nuts to crack, so I suggest approaching independent businesses at first.

As an indie, I tend to stay away from author events since they can cost a pretty penny and are filled with other hopeful writers who are in the same situation. If I do attend, I’ll go as a reader but then end up buying half the books for sale since I sympathize!  Still it’s fun to network and make local contacts with your peers and potential readers.

To summarize:  Find your niche and then broaden your scope. Once you get your foot in the door and word gets out, you can add bigger markets to your list. Better yet, try chains that reach a regional or national market.  Though I’m not shy, I’ll admit, it’s difficult to peddle your own books—I get more rejections than OKs—but if people express interest, don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call or repeat visit.  Naturally you don’t want to come across as a pushy car salesperson, but you can check in periodically, especially if you have a new book out.

Sadly, as an indie, you’ll often get the cold shoulder from old-school stores (don’t get me started on my local Barnes & Noble), but if you present quality books and find the right niche, then you, too, can see your beloved books in stores and unique retail outlets.  Good luck!

Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death
(Jazz Age Mystery Series)
by Ellen Mansoor Collier

About the Book


Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death (Jazz Age Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Decodame Press (December 28, 2018)
Paperback: 249 pages
ISBN-10: 0989417042
ISBN-13: 978-0989417044
Digital ASIN: B07LGGKPKZ

When young Galveston Gazette society reporter Jazz Cross hears rumors of grave robbers at the Broadway Cemetery, she and photographer Nathan Blaine investigate, hoping to land a scoop. The newshawks witness meetings held by clandestine gangs and enlist the help of her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, who attempts to catch the elusive culprits red-handed.

Meanwhile, the supernatural craze takes Galveston by storm, and Jazz is assigned to profile the society set’s favorite fortune teller, Madame Farushka. Sightings of a ghost bride haunting the Hotel Galvez intrigue Jazz, who sets up a Ouija board reading and séance with the spiritualist. Did the bride-to-be drown herself—or was she murdered?

Luckily, Sammy Cook, her black-sheep half-brother, has escaped the Downtown Gang and now acts as the maître d’ for the Hollywood Dinner Club, owned by rival Beach Gang leaders. During a booze bust, the Downtown Gang’s mob boss, Johnny Jack Nounes, is caught and Jazz worries: will Sammy be forced to testify against his former boss? Worse, when a mystery man turns up dead, Sammy is framed for murder and Jazz must solve both murders and help clear Sammy’s name.

As the turf war between rival gangs rages on, Jazz relies on her wits and moxie to rescue her brother and her friends before the Downtown Gang exacts its revenge.

About the Author

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally, I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

Author Links:

Website: http://www.flapperfinds.com/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45174861-deco-dames-demon-rum-and-death
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/artdecodame/flappers/

Purchase Link: Amazon

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Sconed to Death, A Cat Latimer Mystery, by Lynn Cahoon

Hi Ruff Draft’ers.  I’m Lynn Cahoon, author of the Cat Latimer cozy mystery series.  Cat, my main character, is a YA author who runs a monthly writers retreat out of the Victorian she got when her ex-husband died.

The series is set in Colorado, south of Denver, (so the airport is close) in a little college town that caters to the children of the mob families.  So the college is special but most people don’t know the specific admission requirements. Cat (and her ex-husband) used to teach at the college, but when she divorced the cheater, she moved to California.

She’s now dating her high school sweetheart who is the official retreat handyman and driver.

When Cat moved back home, her BFF came with her and Shauna is the house mom for the retreat. She’s also writing a cookbook. The first one has all of the Warm Springs Writers Retreat breakfast menu items. And a few of her own that she’d picked up along the way.

And that’s where the trouble begins for Sconed to Death.

The fun part of writing this book was the visiting writers. They were all from the same cozy writer critique group in Chicago. And each brings their own personality and problems to the retreat.  I really love the structure of setting the book around the retreat week. I always know what’s happening in the background while Cat’s off sleuthing without her uncle’s permission. (Uncle Pete is the town police chief.)

I always enjoy talking about the writing process and Cat, (surprising, I know) has a few of my own writing quirks. She’s a linear writer. She lets the characters tell the stories. And she likes a bit of magic in her books. Her main character, Tori, gets moved to a boarding school the summer before high school starts. She’s angry at her folks, but, since her magic blossomed that summer, she needs the training in how to deal with this witch thing she has.

I’m not writing Tori’s story (yet) but I did just sell a reluctant witch series to my publisher. Mountain Springs Magic (working title) will be on my writing plate late this year and I’m so excited to get my grimoire going for the story details. It’s going to be a fun series.

So what kind of cozy stories do you like? An inside look at the author life? Small town?  Paranormal?

Sconed to Death
(A Cat Latimer Mystery)
by Lynn Cahoon

About the Book


Sconed to Death (A Cat Latimer Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716833
ISBN-13: 978-1496716835
Kindle ASIN: B07H1ZCS2Z

Cat Latimer pursues a scone-cold killer who iced a top chef in a local bakery . . .

Cat has a full plate at her Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort, as a group of aspiring cozy mystery authors arrives for a writers retreat. So when baker Dee Dee Meyer stirs up trouble by filing a false complaint with the health inspector against the B&B—all because she insists Cat’s best friend Shauna stole her recipes—Cat marches into the shop to confront her.

But Dee Dee’s about to have her own batch of trouble. Greyson Finn—a celebrity chef and, until today, one of Denver’s most eligible bachelors—has been found dead in her bakery. Cat’s uncle Pete, who happens to be the chief of police, warns her not to engage in any half-baked sleuthing. But as her curiosity rises, Cat’s determined to discover who served the chef his just desserts—before the killer takes a powder . . .

About the Author

Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series. The Tourist Trap series is set in central coastal California with six holiday novellas releasing in 2018–2019. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. Her newest series, the Farm to Fork mystery series, debuted in 2018. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play

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