I’m honored to have author Debra H. Goldstein from Birmingham, Alabama as a guest on Ruff Drafts for her blog tour with her new Sarah Blair release, Four Cuts Too Many.
Hi, Debra. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.:Drafts.
Although I had legal articles published during my legal career, I didn’t begin writing fiction until a conference competition in 2010. During the past eleven years, I have written six published novels, one that will come out in 2022, and more than forty short stories. My works have been recognized with an IPPY award, as well as being named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer and Silver Falchion finalists.
Maze in Blue – a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s – was published by Chalet, LLC (2011). When they went out of business in 2012, they gave me all files, including the artwork, so I could put it up on CreateSpace and fulfill my speaking obligations. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery bought its mass market rights, but I retain and still have it available in trade paperback and e-book.
Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery – published in 2016 by Five Star. Mass Market rights were later sold to Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. Five Star is no longer publishing mysteries.
One Taste Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – January 2019-available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.
Two Bites Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – October 2019 – available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.
Three Treats Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – August 2020 – available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.
Four Cuts Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – May 2021 – available in mass market and e-book.
Five Belles Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – (2022)
That’s quite impressive. Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
Four Cuts Too Many, the fourth book in Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series, releases on May 25, 2021. Set in a small Southern town, Sarah, who finds kitchens more frightening than murder, gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in the culinary school where her friend teaches serves up a main corpse. Sarah soon finds that there’s no time to mince words when it comes to finding the real killer.
Sounds interesting, and I love the cover.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I write because it is a passion. Just before my second book was released, I walked away from my lifetime judicial appointment to write. My goals as a writer are simple: enjoy what I’m doing (I’m in my second childhood) and give readers an entertaining experience the fun of which allows them to escape the real world.
Those are great goals and a win win for you and your readers.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
The Sarah Blair books appeal to cozy readers ages twenty to infinity. They are fast fun reads, but with a slight edge grounded in real life.
I’m sure they attract a wide audience.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Follow your dream. I wish I had done it sooner. Remember to read other people’s works, take classes, read how-to-books, network, and most of all – write. Publication doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but improvement in your skills can happen daily.
As an author still hoping to find an agent, I appreciate that advice. I’m aware it can take time, and I’m thankful to my two Indie publishers who publish both my cozy series and my standalone mysteries.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
My biggest challenge was believing I could write and making the time to write. I was a master talking about how I wanted to write, but also in finding ways to avoid it.
I can relate to that. After self publishing my first book that didn’t sell well because I had no experience with marketing and promotion,, I stopped writing for some time until a patron at the library where I work who’d read my book told me that I shouldn’t give up my dream and that if I really wanted to write, I would find the time. Even though I still find marketing and promotion challenging, I now have 11 published books and, despite my full-time job, am still writing.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I belong to several chapters of Sisters in Crime and previously served as the president of its largest chapter, the Guppies, as well as being on the national board for five years. Presently, I am president of the Southeast region of Mystery Writers of America and sit on their national board. I also am a member of the Atlanta Writers Group.
Sisters in Crime and their Guppies group are wonderful associations for mystery authors. I’m also a member of both groups as well as International Thriller Writers and the Cat Writers’ Association. I’m hoping to join Mystery Writers of America soon.
- What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Reading, Broadway shows, family & friends.
Nice. Hopefully Broadway shows will resume soon.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I love interacting with people and getting in the zone where words flow into stories and novels. My toughest challenge is balancing life, writing, and promotion – and sometimes coming up with a good idea.
I have trouble balancing writing time with my other obligations, too. I have lots of ideas but not the time to implement them all, so I have to pick and choose.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
Writing cozy mysteries are a challenge to create a solid whodunit that readers enjoy and can potentially figure out without giving the ending away. It’s like creating a puzzle or a maze for people to walk through, with fair clues. If the writing works, I provide a reader with moments of escape and fun, while challenging myself to make each book or story better than the last one.
Yes, it’s important that readers are given clues but ones that don’t make the mystery too easy to solve. That’s another balancing act for cozy as well as other mystery writers.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
Four Cuts Too Many Excerpt:
“There’s something obviously still bothering you. You’ve laid out lots of theories, but you don’t sound convinced about any of them. From what you’ve said, besides Grace, you’ve got lots of possible suspects for Harlan and Chief Gerard to look at. Right?”
“In a sense.” Sarah held up her fingers as she ticked them off. “They should consider anyone who was on the floor when Grace and I got there. That would be Wanda, Franklin, Chef Bernardi, Fern, Nancy, Dr. Williams, and the people who waited to be interviewed in their offices who I don’t even know. The same holds true on the tenure issue, because most of the faculty is working its way toward tenure.”
Sarah put her hands back on the table. “I don’t think I have enough fingers to count everyone. When I add in family, there’s Wanda, but also Wanda’s biological mom, Dr. Martin’s new wife, Lynn, and Kait. There might also be someone at the retirement home who has a connection to Dr. Martin that I haven’t discovered yet. Someone mentioned that because of Kait, they considered Dr. Martin to be part of the Sunshine Retirement Home family.”
“That a long list of potential suspects. Surely Harlan can find enough motivation for most of them to raise doubt if Grace is arrested or tried. What’s really bothering you? What’s going on in your head?”
“I have to admit that if I were Chief Gerard and I was committed to following the money and the blood, Grace would be my primary suspect too . . .”
What a tantalizing excerpt. Thanks for sharing.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I’d like your readers to know how appreciative I am for them. Without them, Sarah couldn’t exist nor could I be having the time of my life. Thank you for having me today and to your readers for supporting my dream.
My pleasure. Readers are the best.
Thanks so much for chatting with me today. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on the tour and your new release.
Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein
About Four Cuts Too Many
Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (May 25, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B08GY52GS6
Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .
Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal.
Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover. But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .
Includes quick and easy recipes!
About Debra H. Goldstein
Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.
Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com. Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub (https://www.bookbub.com/profile/debra-h-goldstein), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor/).
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