Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post by Rodney Laws about How To Take Advantage of Your Time During Lockdown

Some Of The Things That Lockdown Has Given Us More Time To Do

by Rodney Laws

Image credit: PxHere

It’s easy to get lost in the despair and uncertainty of a world besieged by a pandemic. Enough weeks have passed since the first stay-at-home orders were issued that it can no longer be dismissed as a blip. Instead, we must view it as the new state of normalcy, expecting the lifting of restrictions to be glacial and accepting that social conduct may never revert to type.

In these conditions, though, we must focus on the positives — and there are positives to be found if you’re willing to consider them. It’s easy to see why you might be reluctant to do so with so many people dying or seeing their livelihoods ruined, but there’s no sense in adding to the misery by dwelling on the negatives. Life must be embraced.

And while lockdown measures have left social lives in tatters and left people feeling isolated emotionally as well as physically, getting to stay at home has been beneficial for some: and it can be beneficial for others if they’re willing to try. In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the best things that lockdown has given us more time to do:

Work on our writing

So many of us aspire to be decent writers, and many more just want to tell some basic stories that reflect their lives (either directly or indirectly), yet more often than not we leave it as a possibility: something to try one day. Eventually, we tell ourselves, our schedules will clear, obstacles will disappear, and we’ll be ready to put in the time and effort needed.

Some don’t actually believe that, of course — they just like the idea of writing far more than they do the reality of it, but they’re unwilling to admit it to themselves so they come up with excuses. But some really do expect to spend their twilight years learning to be decent writers. If they’re proactive, though, they needn’t wait that long.

What better time to start writing than now? You have creative inspiration aplenty from the complex circumstances. Relationships are being strained or strengthened, lives are changing, and you can focus in a way you ordinarily couldn’t. With your new-found surplus of free time, why not start writing about your experiences during this lockdown?

Attack our reading lists

Great writers must first be voracious readers, naturally, but it can be hard for even the most dedicated readers to keep up with recommendations while they’re busy dealing with other things. Is there a particular novel you’ve been putting off because you want to give it your full attention? A long-running series you’d like to get through in relatively-quick succession?

If you want to buy paperback or hardback books, you don’t need to go to stores: you can order them online and have them delivered. Alternatively, you can use an ereader like an Amazon Kindle and simply download the titles you want. It’s quick and convenient, so if you wince every time you think about your reading list, take this chance to make a dent in it.

Make smart long-term decisions

If short-term thinking is all you could previously handle during the working week, you’re not alone. When your calendar is packed with events, you need to keep your eyes on the road just ahead of you, and that makes it much harder to make any decisions about what’s over the horizon — decisions that can be hugely important.

Now that you have some time stuck at home, you can make smart long-term plans. You can think about where you want to be in five years, and what skills you want to develop. You can also put effort into tasks that will benefit you over time: tasks like planting fruit seeds in your garden or investing your savings.

You can also audit your finances to look for room for improvement. What are you paying for subscription services? Cancel anything you’re not using. Even your mortgage (if you have one) can be reconsidered: have a mortgage broker find you some quotes, and if you find something that better suits your current financial situation then you can go for it. It might not be fun to put time into these things, but it will make a difference in the end.

Reconnect with old friends

I talked about how relationships have been strained or strengthened, and that was always going to happen. Some people living together have found solace in company, while others have seen their differences drive them to distraction — and those kept apart by lockdown have either become closer because of it or started to feel their connections weaken.

What of old relationships, though? Do you ever think about the friends you’ve lost touch with throughout your life? Some due to petty squabbles, others due to paths simply diverging. A situation like this can produce a lot of nostalgic rumination, thinking back on all the mistakes you’ve ever made and what you’d do given a chance to set them right.

This is that chance. Right now you can be quite confident that almost anyone you care to contact will have some free time to talk to you, and you’ll have shared experiences to talk about without needing to delve into your history together. So why not give that old friend a call, or reach out to them online? You might find some pleasant closure, or you might find yourself resuming that old friendship as though it never ended. People change, and this is a great time to see what that means.

Lockdown has been tough for so many people, and we still don’t know when life will move significantly towards its former state, but we shouldn’t be too fixated on what might change. Instead, we should seek to make the most of the opportunities afforded us by the lockdown measures. It’s the best way to grow and thrive in tough circumstances.

Rodney Laws
Editor at Ecommerce Platforms
https://ecommerceplatforms.io
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Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post by Elizabeth Logan, Author of Mousse and Murder, An Alaskan Diner Mystery

It Takes a Village, by Camille Minichino, aka Elizabeth Logan

From my earliest days, I chose jobs like teaching and lab work that put me with considerably large groups of people. I’d never been a loner, the way writers were. Or so I thought. A mistaken notion, of course.

I’d been a physicist for a long time. No one does physics alone, not since Galileo, anyway. Who can accommodate a collider, a giant circular tunnel 17 miles long in her loft or garage?

Physicists gather around huge equipment in giant laboratories all over the world these days, working as a team. My graduate school mates and I spent long hours together in the same building every day, sharing data, power supplies, and monster-mentor stories. We became close friends and knew each others’ families as well as our own for a few years. Decades later, we still get together for reunions.

For the same decades, I’d wanted to be a published writer—something with more popular potential than my technical papers on the scattering properties of a titanium dioxide crystal or my first book, on nuclear waste management. But I couldn’t imagine sitting alone in a room with pen and paper, or keyboard and monitor, pouring out my thoughts and plots, with no human contact.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that writing—mystery writing especially—was a community endeavor. I discovered not only professional organizations and critique groups, but book clubs, conferences, Internet lists and groups, and blogging colleagues. Who knew?

Because of those groups and meetings, even sheltered in place at the moment, there’s a writer/reader community zooming or skyping all over the world.

Sure, there’s a lot of me-and-my-chair for many hours, but I always know I can call or email any number of colleagues if I want to brainstorm a plot point, or discuss a new character I’m developing. With each book, my acknowledgments list gets longer.

Also, like physics, writing requires research. Most of it is people-oriented, which has turned out to be quite a bonus. In the course of writing themes and subplots for more than twenty-five books, I’ve interviewed an embalmer, a veterinarian, a medevac helicopter pilot, an ice climber, a hotel administrator, an elevator maintenance man, and countless experts in police procedure, forensics, and—uh, ways to kill people.

I’ve gone to conferences in cities I’d never have visited otherwise, like Omaha and Boise and Milwaukee.

And the readers! In each series I’ve tried to remember whom I’m writing for, and hope the protagonist sleuth is someone readers would like to have lunch with.

I’m on my fifth series, and I still count on my dream critique group and all my colleagues to see me through the next book.

I’m sure some writers prefer to go it alone, but I never would have made it.

The writing and reading community are smart, fun, and generous.

I’m glad I found them.

Mousse and Murder (An Alaskan Diner Mystery)
by Elizabeth Logan

About Mousse and Murder

Mousse and Murder (An Alaskan Diner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (May 5, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593100441
ISBN-13: 978-0593100448
Kindle ASIN: B07WCZPZY7

A young chef might bite off more than she can chew when she returns to her Alaskan hometown to take over her parents’ diner in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in an Alaskan tourist town.

When Chef Charlie Cooke is offered the chance to leave San Francisco and return home to Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mother’s diner, she doesn’t even consider saying no. After all–her love life has recently become a Love Life Crumble, and a chance to reconnect with her roots may be just what she needs.

Determined to bring fresh life and flavors to the Bear Claw Diner, Charlie starts planning changes to the menu, which has grown stale over the years. But her plans are fried when her head cook Oliver turns up dead after a bitter and public fight over Charlie’s ideas–leaving Charlie as the only suspect in the case.

With her career, freedom, and life all on thin ice, Charlie must find out who the real killer is, before it’s too late.

About Elizabeth Logan

Camille Minichino is turning every aspect of her life into a mystery series. A retired physicist, she’s the author of 28 mystery novels in 5 series, with different pen names. Her next book is “Mousse and Murder,” May 2020, by Elizabeth Logan. She’s also written many short stories and articles. She teaches science at Golden Gate U. in San Francisco and writing workshops around the SF Bay Area. Details are at www.minichino.com.

Author Links

Website – http://www.minichino.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/camille.minichino

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/160580.Camille_Minichino

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NIndieBound

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May 6 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart

Charlotte Stuart – WHY ME? CHIMERAS, CONUNDRUMS AND DEAD GOLDFISH

The Controversy Over Chimera Research

In Greek mythology the Chimera was a creature with the physical traits of several animals – usually a lion, a goat and a dragon. Today, chimera research involves inserting the genetic material of a human into an animal. Not to produce a monster, but to advance medicine and improve or save lives.

The inspiration for the serious theme of my otherwise lighthearted mystery came from an article I read on one form of chimera research that is taking place in medical research centers around the world. These scientists are implanting human genes into animals such a pigs and sheep to grow organs that can in turn be harvested for transplant. Sadly, it is estimated that 20 people die each day in the United States due to a lack of donor organs. Scientists involved in this research hope to meet the growing need for organs and, at the same time, stop illegal organ trafficking.

It should come as no surprise that many bioethicists are concerned about the far-reaching implications of chimera research. They fear we may somehow cross a line by creating interspecies chimeric animals with human cells. For example, there were protests about experiments done by a Chinese researcher who implanted human genes into the brains of rhesus monkeys to improve their cognitive function. For many, me included, that conjured up visions of the Planet of the Apes movies in which intelligent primates threatened the existence of humans. It definitely makes you worry about what happens if we humanize animals. What kind of lives can they anticipate? Can we all live in harmony? And, at what point do they attain rights similar to those of humans?

As I point out in the forward to my book, the international community is divided on what types of chimera research should be legal. From my limited knowledge of how biomedical research is conducted, it seems like it should be possible to provide safety guidelines while allowing potentially life-saving research to take place. Yet, even with good controls in place, there is always the possibility that while growing a much-needed organ, a few cells could find their way to the animal’s brain. And even if some countries impose regulations on research, enforcement on a global scale may be problematic.

Another issue that many are concerned with is the treatment of animals used in these experiments. I don’t want animals to suffer. But I’m torn between not wanting to put animals through unnecessary pain and the desire to save human lives. Obviously it would be ideal if scientists could come up with solutions without using animals as test subjects. But I also don’t have the expertise to say whether this is possible or not. And the people I know in the science field are doing their best to help people; they take no satisfaction in hurting any living creature. At the same time, I believe it is a good thing that protesters keep ethical issues in front of governments and scientists. Whatever decisions are made, there needs to be a thorough consideration of potential consequences.

When I pitched my book I referred to “pigs that play chess, sheep that talk and chimpanzees with 120 IQs.” Some thought I had made this research issue up. Unfortunately, trafficking in illegal organs, protests that sometimes turn violent, and the possibility that some scientist will create a genetically altered species are all very real. Although I admit that one goal was to bring the issue of chimera research to the attention of readers, I primarily just wanted to tell a good story. Hopefully, I succeeded in doing that. And hopefully there will be a happy ending in real life as there almost always is in a cozy mystery.

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
by Charlotte Stuart

About Why Me?:
Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish


Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Taylor and Seale Publishing LLC (November 18, 2019)
Paperback: 255 pages
ISBN-10: 1950613321
ISBN-13: 978-1950613328
Digital Print Length: 194 pages
ASIN: B083JN3TK8

In ancient Greece, the chimera was a bad omen. In WHY ME?, it’s a motive for murder. Bryn Baczek, a Seattle consultant, is vacationing in Scotland, hiking alone in a downpour, surrounded by midges, when she sees a body at the bottom of a ravine. Before she can return to the scene with the mountain rescue team, the body disappears. She learns that he was a scientist and that his laptop containing his cutting-edge research has disappeared. Rumors that Bryn has the laptop make her a target.

About Charlotte Stuart

In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and was the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She is the VP for the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.charlottestuart.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/quirkymysteries

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlotte.stuart.mysterywriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19305587.Charlotte_Stuart

Purchase Links

Amazon Barnes and NobleIndieBound

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April 4 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

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April 6 – EBook addicts – REVIEW

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April 11 – T’s stuff – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post by Julie Seedorf, Author of A Small Town Can be #Murder, A Whistle Stop Mystery

Guest post by Julie Seedorf

I am not an editor. I don’t want to be an editor. Somewhere in English 101 I loved the creative writing but didn’t pay attention to grammar. As I wrote #AsmallTownCanBe #Murder, I was thankful every day knowing the words I put on paper would be edited by Annie Sarac of Skye Bridge Publishing.

One of my biggest problems is that I write like I speak. I don’t talk in complete sentences, I say “yah” all the time. You must realize I am from Minnesota. I use many slang words and I run my sentences together. To be fair, ask yourself if you speak correct English all the time.

There are some books where everything a character says is perfect English. I might admit to finding that a little boring. I use alliteration all the time and that is a no, no. At a book presentation I answered a question by an author who was also an English Professor. Her comments were about alliteration, country speaking in a book and using old sayings. I cringed a little and then got up the courage to say, “You maybe shouldn’t read my books. You won’t like them.”

I am from Minnesota. I was at a Sisters In Crime meeting in Iowa (yes we do cross over the border once in a while) and a woman told me she knew I wasn’t from Iowa because I had a Minnesota accent. I didn’t know we had an accent different from Iowa but I am happy to own it. I would suspect it shows in my writing.

My editor is from North Carolina. She didn’t know what big box stores were. She thought I made a mistake. I fervently stuck to my guns (notice the saying) and made her leave it in. If you don’t know what it is, look it up you might be surprised.

Editors are an important part of an author’s success. I am comma challenged and I don’t always see what a fiction book editor sees. For instance, in my new book I had to change names. Apparently, I have favorite names and they all start with the same letter. Lila, the medical examiner started out as Avery. If I had left Avery, I would have had Avery and Angel and there were more names that started with A. I didn’t notice it.

One of my beta readers who is also an editor asked me what happened to the realtor’s car. She arrived at the house, didn’t make it out alive and the story went on, but what happened to her car. It was a tiny detail that I didn’t think of, but needed to be dealt with.

As hard as we try, we occasionally miss things, and readers still find mistakes. A book can go through many edits. #AsmallTownCanBe #Murder did. We went back and forth for months and hopefully it is perfect but… maybe not. Many people read the book before it is released, however, the mind is a funny thing and doesn’t always see what is on the page if we are embroiled in reading the story.

If you are a writer and want to publish a book, look for a good editor. Your neighborly English teacher or grammar expert might not always be the best person. It’s not that easy. A book needs line editing, content editing, copy editing and someone who is brutally honest with you.

My heart was in my new book. It is a little more serious venture for me and I came to feel like the characters were family. I hope you do too, and I hope Whistle Stop gives you the hankering to explore small towns and sit a spell and meet the townfolk.

Editors are my heroes. Especially right now. If you see mistakes in this ignore them. I have a bad finger and it is hard to type. As a result I am not just comma challenged…;;pl.slk

A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries)
by Julie Seedorf

About A Small Town Can Be #Murder


A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Skye Bridge Publishing (December 21, 2019)
Paperback: 196 pages
ISBN-10: 0578605481
ISBN-13: 978-0578605487
Digital ASIN: B082YLDW43

You have all heard the story: big-city girl moves to small town and lives happily ever after. That’s not the forever-after Angel Delaight found when she moved to Whistle Stop, Minnesota. First her realtor is found dead in her new house, which is also rumored to be haunted. Then homeless animals began showing up at her door, along with a bevy of townspeople who seem to know what she is doing at all times. Not to mention a secret journal turning up during renovation, revealing more secrets hidden in this small community.

Will those secrets from the past put Angel’s life and those of her friends and family in danger? When the big-city girl meets a small town, it can be murder.

About Julie Seedorf

A Bit About Me As An Impassioned Writer

As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I have worn many hats throughout my life such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities person, office manager and finally a computer repair person eventually owning my own computer sales and repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.

Adding five more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity. This year the Whistle Stop series was born. Small towns have my heart and I hoped to convey that in my new series.

I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble.

Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.

Author Links

Website: http://julieseedorf.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/julie.seedorf.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/julieseedorf

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/julie_seedorf

Pinterest.com: http://pinterest.com/julieseedorf

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Seedorf/e/B009WAAANQ

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/JulieSeedorf

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

Purchase Links – AmazonKoboBarnesandNoble.comSmashwordsAppleSkye Bridge Publishing

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Posted in Authors, Cats, Dogs, Guest Post

Guest Post by Fellow Pet Lover and author/Poet Ann Chiappetta

Yes, They All Get Along

By Ann Chiappetta

Eight years ago, a tiny short hair tuxedo kitten entered our lives. My daughter rescued it, hiding the 6-week-old fur ball in her closet.  Unbeknownst to my husband and me, she took her lunch money to pay for formula and saved it’s life.

Looking back, I thought the increased interest in her room by our dogs was odd but dismissed it for wanting to get in the room to scavenge for crumbs and candy wrappers.

I’m sure that by now, dear reader, you are asking, so when did she let the cat, um, kitten, out of the bag, um, closet? 🙂

It was my husband, actually. He asked me to cup my hands and since I am blind, I did not need to close my eyes; he deposited a palm-sized kitten into my hands and all my protestations of “no more animals”,  fell away as I felt his little body  and listened to his kitten cries.

A year later, Papa the cat and my other dogs were ready to meet my new guide dog, Bailey.  I sent out a prayer that it would all work out and walked inside, unharnessed Bailey and told him to sit. My daughter stepped forward with papa. Bailey stood up, straining at his leash. Papa growled. Bailey whined. Papa hissed and Bailey let out a loud bark, which made Papa jump from April’s arms and onto the wall unit where he hid for the rest of the day.

We knew that one day Bailey and Papa would become friends, but it would probably take longer than expected. It was a few years later, after our beagle mix died, that I noticed Papa rubbing on Bailey’s paws and letting Bailey sniff his head. Now the two of them jump in our bed and sleep together. When someone asks if our animals get along, I smile and say, yes.

When writing a short story, I determine if the theme and characters merit the mention of pets or service dogs. It’s about fifty-fifty. In my new short story collection, A String of Stories, From the Heart to the Future C 2020, I’ve managed to sneak in a guide dog and a pet dog and cat. I’m not going to spoil it but below is an excerpt from the short story, Kender.

After dinner, Kiki and Kender are introduced. Abbie sits at the base of the upstairs and has no clue what is going to happen. She is excited and nervous at the same time. Kathlyn sits above her on the carpeted step, brushing her unruly hair. She doesn’t even flinch when there is a knot, being absorbed in watching Dad and Nora bring the dog and cat into the room at the same time. Kender barks, Kiki arches his back, hissing.  Kiki runs up and swats him on the nose. He yelps and jumps away. Dad hangs onto his collar and talks to him. Kiki, hair standing up in agitation, jumps past Abbie and Kathlyn and runs up the stairs, most likely to hide under Nora’s bed.

“That wasn’t too bad,” Dad says, “Doesn’t look like he’s hurt.” Dad pets Kender on the head while looking at the scratch on his nose. He smiles when the dog licks his face.

“We can tie him up outside tonight and try again tomorrow,”

“Tie him up outside?” Nora says, “But I want to keep him in my room tonight,”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea until we get rid of his fleas and clean him up a bit first,” Dad says, “Besides, Kiki wouldn’t be happy about that.”

Nora’s face turns red and she runs upstairs, stomping her feet all the way to her room. She doesn’t slam the door, though. Door slamming is forbidden.

Thanks for reading and love-up those fur-faces!

About Ann

Ann Chiappetta M.S. author and poet.

Making meaningful connections with others through writing.

Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, the Avocet, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow.  Her    first two books, a poetry collection, UPWELLING: POEMS C 2016 and memoir, FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST C 2017, are available from all eBook sellers in electronic and print softcover, and as audio books from Audible.

Ann’s third book WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS  C 2019 can also be purchased in all eBook formats and in softcover. The Audible audio book will be released in Fall 2020. Ann’s newest title, A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future C 2020, is also available as an eBook and softcover.

Ann’s blog: http://www.thought-wheel.com. Ann’s personal website: www.annchiappetta.com

Ann’s author page: www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Clearing in the Woods by Phyllis M. Newman

The Nature of Writing
by Phyllis M. Newman

It’s a bad day when the only thing I’ve written is a grocery list. Any serious writer must work every day, even if it is only for twenty minutes. I have sometimes done my most interesting writing in short spurts. But it also goes without saying that I am thinking of my story and my characters all the time. I keep a small notebook with me to jot down ideas, words, and phrases that I will want to use. Younger writers will no doubt use their phones or other electronic devices for this purpose (I have never gotten beyond the pure pleasure of writing cursive, pen in hand, on paper.) And don’t wait until ‘the mood strikes’ to create. That is a surefire way to never get anything accomplished.

I sit at the computer and compose daily, even if I have no clear ideas or goals about my project. I might start with penning interesting scenes, unusual characters and their interaction with others, or descriptions of places. I love to create mood, intrigue, or romantic interludes. When I do this, it leads me to an idea for the plot, then another. This is always fun for me, to see where just fooling around takes me.

I like to think of my writing as poetry and having a particular cadence. I try to make each sentence and each description unusual, to always capture the unexpected. I like to create original metaphors and use words in unique ways. I have used, for instance ‘impossibly green’ as a descriptor in one book, and ‘normal is just a setting on the dryer’ in another. ‘My relationships last no longer than a breath mint,’ is yet another example of a fun metaphor. The trick is to make them fit the mood of the story or the character I am creating.

I am not always able to use descriptions or metaphors that I develop in the final draft of my work, but meanwhile I am engaged and feeling creative. When I contemplate writing a new novel, I try always to make it fun. For me that means creating unusual characters or situations, odd word choices, or poetic descriptions. I find that the plot is the least important thing to me and I struggle with that most of all. I also find that I don’t map out my major themes in the beginning, but they always emerge. The impressive thing about it is, different readers see different themes. I am always surprised by that.

The biggest surprise for me as a writer is that you do not do it alone. At least not successfully. If you want to develop your very best work, you do it in a group setting. Creditable writing that resonates with the reader is done within a dedicated writing group.

I belong to a merry little band of colleagues called Company of Writers here in Columbus, Ohio, who go well beyond grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure in making corrections and recommendations. They communicate what they see (or, often, don’t see) in the mood, arc of the story, conflict, plot and character development. I don’t always see it their way, or even take their advice, but they encourage me and spur me on to thinking through trouble spots I don’t even notice. I work harder and better with their advice and support.

I am often amazed to find that most of my story is still in my head, and I haven’t managed to get it down on paper. To put it another way, I bring in rough stones for them to look at, and they polish and finish to a shine. I am grateful for their clarity, perspicacity, and advice.

My new novel, THE CLEARING IN THE WOODS, shows the effects of their brilliance. My writing is richer, fuller, and deeper because I have taken their commentary seriously. Thanks to them, I have presented strong, determined main characters inhabiting a unique story that will take readers to a unique place.

Clearing in the Woods
by Phyllis M. Newman

About Clearing in the Woods

Clearing in the Woods
Women’s Psychological/Crime Fiction
Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2019)
Paperback: 321 pages
ISBN-10: 1701629364
ISBN-13: 978-1701629363
Digital ASIN: B07ZTZMTVS

Roberta escapes her humdrum middle-class existence and the persistent ache of her dead mother’s secrets by fleeing to Alaska. Having abandoned everything she’d spent her life building, Roberta remakes herself in another place, doing anything other than responding to the demands of her self-absorbed husband, her entitled kids, and her Pottery Barn home. Taking her first job since college, and a small room above a tourists’ shop, she contemplates new vistas. She never expected, however, to find romance in the form of a handsome federal agent involved in murder and mayhem.And it is murder and mayhem, and the discovery of other’s secrets, that causes Roberta to run for her life into the Alaskan wilderness…

About Phyllis M. Newman

PHYLLIS NEWMAN

Phyllis M. Newman is a native southerner. Born in New Orleans, she spent formative years in Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, and on a dairy farm in Ross County, Ohio. After a long career in finance and human resources at The Ohio State University, she turned her attention to writing fiction. She published a noir mystery, “Kat’s Eye” in 2015, a Gothic mystery, “The Vanished Bride of Northfield House” in 2018, and the suspense thriller “Clearing in the Woods” in 2019. Today she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three perpetually unimpressed cats, none of whom venture far from home.

Author Links

Website www.readphyllismnewman.com, Twitter @phyllismnewman2, Facebook https://facebook.com/ReadPhyllisMNewman/

Purchase Link – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 5 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW

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March 8 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Ascroft, eh?– CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

March 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

March 17 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

March 18 – Ruff Drafts– GUEST POST

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Posted in Guest Post, mystery

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Glitter, Glam and Contraband, A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery by Heather Weidner

A Playlist for Glitter, Glam, and Contraband

by Heather Weidner

Thank you so much for letting me visit today. Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is the third novel in my Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series. She is my sassy private investigator who zips around Central Virginia in her black Mustang (usually with the radio blaring).

I love music. It has always been a huge part of my life, and I have playlists for reading, writing, editing, and revising. Music is always on at home or work. (As I write this, Bon Jovi is blasting on my computer speakers.) I love all kinds of genres, but I seem to gravitate back to songs from the Big ‘80s. Songs from my high school and college days will always be my favorites. And that era plays a huge role in the first novel in my series, Secret Lives and Private Eyes.

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

So here’s my playlist for Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. These songs make me think of Delanie, her spunky spirit, her nose for trouble, and of course, her beloved Mustang.

  1. Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes”
  2. Robbin Thompson’s “Candy Apple Red”
  3. Kelly Pickler’s “Red High Heels”
  4. The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”
  5. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”
  6. Robbin Thompson’s “Sweet Virginia Breeze”
  7. Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”
  8. Jake Owens’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”
  9. Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
  10. The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun”
  11. Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally”
  12. Toby Keith’s “Whiskey Girl”
  13. Rascal Flatts’s “Fast Cars and Freedom”
  14. Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”
  15. Rascal Flatts’s “Life is a Highway”
  16. Mark Wills’s “Nineteen Something”
  17. Bowling for Soup’s “1985”
  18. And of course, Hall and Oates’s “Private Eyes”

Music is such a big part of our lives. We remember lyrics from songs that were popular ages ago, and it invokes a variety of emotions. This list makes me think of my sassy character and the adventures she has as she tries to track down thieves and smugglers.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
by Heather Leigh Weidner

About Glitter, Glam and Contraband


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
Traditional Mystery/Female Sleuth/Humorous Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Sandpiper Productions (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 099945983X
ISBN-13: 978-0999459836
ASIN: B081PGYR7T

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

About Heather Weidner

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Author Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/profile/heatherweidner/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyBjyB0zz-M1DaM-rU1bXGA?view_as=subscriber

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January 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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January 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

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January 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

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January 15 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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January 19 – TBR Book Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post about Great Novel Characters

Image credit: Pexels

What Exactly Makes A Great Character In A Novel?

by Rodney Laws

The novel — today’s dominant literary art form — is a relatively new kid on the block, having been perfected in eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain and America. The enduring success of the novel owes much to its ability to explore psychological complexities of character. It is people, and their foibles and flaws, that make novels such rich tapestries.

Great characters have dominated the novels of the long nineteenth century and beyond, but what exactly makes a great character? Why do we love (or love to hate) certain characters? What are the hallmarks of great character development? How do some of the best authors approach character?

The best way to do this, I think, is to run through some key traits that crop up time and time again. From those, you can glean some insight into character construction. In this piece, we’re going to consider the notable characteristics of some great characters. Let’s begin.

Relatable vulnerability (Emma Bovary)

The character of Emma Bovary made Gustave Flaubert notorious. His stunningly accurate portrayal of nineteenth century suburbian inertia in the character of young, bored, and married Emma scandalized France.

His frank portrayal of female desire and dissatisfaction shocked moralists, but Emma is one of the world’s most loved fiction heroines — precisely because of her ‘flaws’. It’s Emma’s relatable flaws that make her such a great character. She is vulnerable and complex. She can be cruel, yet she’s also a victim herself.

Even Flaubert is reported to have famously said about Emma: “Madame Bovary, c’est moi” (Madame Bovary, she’s me).

What you can learn from Flaubert:

  • Flawed and tragic characters are extremely relatable
  • Vulnerability can help writers draw their readers in
  • A shocking ‘fall from grace’ like the one Emma has will immortalize a character.

Infectious buoyancy (Elizabeth Bennett)

Elizabeth Bennett has a great character arc, and that’s why she’s enduringly popular. She learns from her mistakes, and we like to watch her realize the error of her ways and get what she wants (after some suitable drama, of course, in a plot so influential that it’s cited on a frequent basis — see Jericho Writers on how to plot, for example).

Elizabeth has a zest for life that make her story engaging rather than tragic. She is flawed in her own ways, but not tragically so like Emma Bovary. Lizzie is a great testament to Jane Austen’s own independent spirit as a female novelist in constrained circumstances.

Lizzie also has one of the most romantic stories in English literature: that of two opposed and proud people realizing they do really love each other. It’s the simultaneous character development of both Darcy and Elizabeth that makes their love story such an engaging one to follow, and accounts for the enduring success of Pride & Prejudice.

Mysterious nature (Jay Gatsby)

Complex, always out of reach, tragically blinded by love. Gatsby is elusive, even in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel that bears his name, The Great Gatsby. Charismatic and vain, Gatsby is also incredibly warm-hearted and generous.

He lives in a world that seems perfect, but in reality is anything but. The dark side of the Roaring Twenties is perfectly personified in Gatsby’s fragile success and ego. Jay Gatsby is a rich character full of contradictions, and as we slowly get close to the real man, we’re merely blindsided again. Even at the end, Gatsby remains somehow other-wordly.

The distance between the reader and Gatsby is partly due to the unreliable narrator, Nick Carraway — a genius narrative device that makes Fitzgerald’s novel and its characters so deliciously slippery.

Irresistible personality (Jane Eyre)

Jane Eyre is a real testament to Charlotte Bronte’s extraordinary skills as a writer and her innate understanding of character development. Jane definitely fulfils the character development type of ‘extraordinary’ — an extraordinary character and personality “that can make things happen in an empty room”. It’s no coincidence that the novel has her name.

Though from obscure origins, Jane behaves with dignity fitting for a Duchess. Her intense self-knowledge and sense of self make her irresistible, especially in the social context of the novel. Her challenges and pain make her a stronger, more alive version of herself. She is wounded, but strong. She says little, but means a lot. Her character is all about quiet power.

Everyday flaws (Winston Smith)

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a great dystopian novel, but it’s also a brilliant character novel. Winston works as a humdrum clerk in a totalitarian dystopia. He seems nondescript and banal, but underneath the surface lives a passionate and brave man.

His varicose ulcers and gin habit make him human (and faintly disgusting). His innate sense of curiosity drives him on. He makes mistakes because he cares. Orwell himself consciously wrote Winston as the everyman character — someone we could all relate to.

Our closeness to Winston makes the setting of the novel all the more powerful and affecting. Reading Orwell’s novel, we all question what we would have done in his place. Winston’s choices become our choices.

Adolescent rebellion (Holden Caulfield)

The brutality and confusion of adolescence is a theme with universal potency, and J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most popular and well-regarded novels in history because of the young protagonist’s existential troubles.

Holden Caulfield evidently captures enough universal truth to be a mirror for the reader. How else do you explain his alternating praise and vilification? He stumbles from place to place, searching for earnest human connection but finding a surging disdain for those around him.

Holden doesn’t rebel in an effort to look cool or impress his peers. He rebels from the mediocrities of civilization, choosing to walk away at every turn rather than stick around and accept that people are flawed. His fantasy of being a hero, of protecting children from the loss of innocence, leaves him at war with the world… and the darkness in his own nature.

Ruthless pragmatism (Scarlett O’Hara)

“My dear, I don’t give a damn.” These words (preceded by “Frankly” in the movie adaptation) are firmly affixed to the popular perception of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, but to focus unduly on them is to give short shrift to one of literature’s great survivors.

Scarlett O’Hara, the dear in question, is smart in a time that doesn’t welcome smartness in women. As a wealthy Southern girl, she’s expected to be charming, passive, and essentially vapid — a prize to be won — but only plays the part as needed to get by. Whenever possible, she seeks to express her will, and it’s that will that steels her to hardship.

When war breaks out and washes away her material wealth, Scarlett doesn’t shy away from what needs to be done: she uses her cultural value as a woman (marrying for money) and her formidable intelligence (running her own business) to ensure that she survives.

Righteous courage (Atticus Finch)

The legal profession has suffered greatly in common perception, with lawyers mostly viewed as unscrupulous cads obsessed with money and power, but there’s nobility to be found in the legal field — and to those eager to protect it, Atticus Finch is a worthy hero.

Set in the American South in a time of open racial inequality, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is an undeniable classic. When Tom Robinson, a black man, is accused of raping a white woman, the general populace automatically considers him guilty beyond question. Atticus Finch is assigned to defend him, and defies racist condemnation by determining to represent his client as effectively as he can.

In the end, despite making a powerful and convincing case, Atticus finds that racism is too entrenched in the jury. Thus, his innocent client is convicted. In the process, though, he inspires future generations with his bold defence of reason and conscience, even in the face of inevitable defeat: courage, as he sees it, is “[W]hen you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

Having looked at these great characters, then, what can we glean? The most notable takeaway is that perfection doesn’t make for interesting characters. We’re drawn to characters with flaws and struggles, because we can relate to them. If you’re struggling to write a character for a novel, keep this in mind.

Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on Ecommerce platforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.”

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post, holidays

Guest Post for Handmade Ho Ho Homicide: An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8 by Lois Winston

A Communist Dog, a Russian Empress Cat, and a Shakespeare-quoting Parrot Walked into a Cozy Mystery

By Lois Winston

I write the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, a cozy series featuring a cast of rather unique characters, including Lucille Pollack, my sleuth’s communist mother-in-law and leader of the thirteen octogenarian Daughters of the October Revolution. However, along with the humans that populate the series, there are three non-humans, each with their own unique personalities.

Manifesto is the commie’s French bulldog, named for The Communist Manifesto, a political treatise written in 1848 by German philosophers Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. Given Lucille’s political leanings, you’d expect her to own a Russian Wolfhound, wouldn’t you? Anastasia really doesn’t know why her mother-in-law chose a French bulldog. The two women converse only when absolutely necessary. However, Anastasia suspects size was the main factor. Russian Wolfhounds are quite large, and prior to moving in with Anastasia and her family, Lucille lived in an extremely small apartment.

You know how pets often take on the personalities of their owners? This is definitely the case with Manifesto. As such, Anastasia and her sons have given the dog a few nicknames, alternating between Mephisto and Devil Dog. Recently, though, Manifesto has begun to mellow and prefer the company of Anastasia’s sons to his mistress. Whether this is due to age or objecting to Lucille’s smothering is uncertain, but Anastasia and the boys see it as a welcome change in disposition. Too bad his mistress doesn’t take her cues from her dog.

Manifesto continues to have one nemesis, though. Catherine the Great is an overweight, pampered white Persian owned by Anastasia’s much-married mother Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe Tuttnauer.

Flora is the former social secretary of the Daughters of the American Revolution and claims to trace her lineage back to Russian nobility on her mother’s side. When she’s between husbands, she moves in with Anastasia. Due to the size of Anastasia’s home, Flora and Lucille are then forced to share a bedroom. The two women get along as well as their pets—which is to say they fight like cats and dogs.

African grey parrot, Psittacus erithacus erithacus, from the Congo region isolated on red.

The Casa Pollack menagerie is rounded out by Ralph, an African Grey Parrot with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare. Anastasia inherited Ralph from her great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle, a college professor and Shakespearean scholar who brought Ralph to all her lectures. Ralph doesn’t just quote the standard famous lines from the Bard of Avon, though. No “alas poor Yorick” or “friends, Romans, countrymen” for this bird. He has an uncanny knack for squawking situation-appropriate lines from any play or sonnet.

Because he’s potty-trained, Ralph has free rein of the house, much to the annoyance of both Lucille and Flora. Manifesto and Catherine the Great don’t think very highly of him, either, but Ralph could care less. He looks down his beak at any species that can’t converse in English. And much to Anastasia’s amusement, Ralph has developed a “bromance” with her boyfriend, photojournalist (and possible spy) Zachary Barnes.

Can you tell I write humorous cozy mysteries?

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8

Two and a half weeks ago magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack arrived home to find Ira Pollack, her half-brother-in-law, had blinged out her home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Now he’s crammed her small yard with enormous cavorting inflatable characters. She and photojournalist boyfriend and possible spy Zack Barnes pack up the unwanted lawn decorations to return to Ira. They arrive to find his yard the scene of an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. His neighbors are not happy with the animatronics, laser light show, and blaring music creating traffic jams on their normally quiet street. One of them expresses his displeasure with his fists before running off.

In the excitement, the deflated lawn ornaments are never returned to Ira. The next morning Anastasia once again heads to his house before work to drop them off. When she arrives, she discovers Ira’s attacker dead in Santa’s sleigh. Ira becomes the prime suspect in the man’s murder and begs Anastasia to help clear his name. But Anastasia has promised her sons she’ll keep her nose out of police business. What’s a reluctant amateur sleuth to do?

Buy Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VG2QZXV/

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/handmade-ho-ho-homicide

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/handmade-ho-ho-homicide-lois-winston/1132607263?ean=2940163093748

iTunes https://books.apple.com/us/book/handmade-ho-ho-homicide/id1473711082

Bio:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website: www.loiswinston.com

Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lois-winston

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.

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