Archive for the ‘cozy mysteries’ Category

The Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is our new release ROMANCE IS MURDER by Teri Barnett.

Where you can get it:

Lachesis Publishing (Only $0.99 cents for the month of November) 

amazonkobo

What it’s about:

Morgan Hart is home. The thirty-six-year-old former Detroit detective has just moved back to Bijoux, Michigan, the lakeside town where she grew up. Returning to take up the reins as the new police captain since her father, Able, retired, Morgan hopes for a fresh start and a welcome change from the gritty police work she did in the Big D. Morgan also hopes she’ll be able to get her life back on track since her husband Ian Daniels, also a detective, was murdered on a case five years ago. Still unsolved, her husband’s death haunts her even as she settles into her new role.

Morgan has mixed feelings about being back home in Bijoux. Her relationship with her dad is complicated, and the townspeople have no qualms about telling her how she should do her job. Her childhood nemesis, Connie Graham, a reporter for the local TV news station, always seems to show up at the worst possible time, and the owner of the local bookstore, Caleb Joseph, is far too attractive and far too nosy. At least she and her deputy, JJ Jones, get along and bond over their mutual love of cupcakes.

The quaint, old town has gone through quite a transformation since Morgan was there last. Quirky new shops are opening up to attract summer tourists. And many of the old stores along Main Street are getting a facelift. Even the historic Firefly Bed and Breakfast, is changing. It’s hosting a romance writer’s conference with some of the biggest names in the biz. But someone else is determined to make a few more changes. Deadly changes that will leave the town reeling and will have Morgan investigating the first murder in Bijoux in 100 years.

Connect with Teri Barnett via her website, facebook, twitter

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USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow

USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow writes the break-out successful BARB JACKSON MYSTERIES for the Gemma Halliday Publishing House. While Anna is a happy wife and mom, she has a deep dark secret – she’s a  self-confessed lipstick junkie. Anna carries no less than 15 lipsticks in her purse at all times. You never know when you’re gonna need one! 

Welcome Anna!

LP:  You are published with a small boutique houseGemma Halliday Publishing and Gemma Halliday is also a bestselling author – tell us how that came about and what is it like working for a boutique house?

AS: I started my writing career writing steamy paranormal and contemporary romance but after a while I wasn’t happy with that genre. I felt out of touch with it, I guess you could say, so I decided to try my hand at cozy mystery. I wanted to stick with mysteries because that’s what I love, but I also wanted to write with humor because I love making people laugh. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gemma’s so when I heard that she had started her own publishing house, I knew that I had to submit my Barb Jackson Series to her, and I’m so glad that I did! I absolutely adore working for GHP. Gemma is amazing.

LP: You’re a USA Today bestselling author – which book or books did you hit the list with and what did you do to celebrate or mark the occasion?

AS: I was fortunate enough to have one of my Barb Jackson Mysteries (Blondes’ Night Out) be included in a collection of summer stories alongside some of my awesome fellow GHP authors, titled Killer Beach Reads. We hit the promo hard and were blessed with a spot on the USA Today Bestseller List.

I didn’t really do anything to celebrate. Can you believe that?

LP: You write cozy mystery – tell us about your series and why you love this genre?

AS: I’ve always been a huge fan of cozy mysteries. I dipped my toes into the genre by reading books by Jana DeLeon and moved on to Gemma Halliday and many others. I love cozy mystery because it has two of the things I love most while reading. Mystery and humor!

The Barb Jackson Mysteries is a fun, light-hearted series about a petite blonde private detective, her best friends, and her wacky aunt Mona. Barb is clumsy, not very girly, and (hopefully) very relatable. I wanted people who read this series to see Barb and instantly relate to her. She has bad hair days, a coffee addiction, she’d live in her pajamas if she could, her detective boyfriend is constantly worried about what she up to next, and she’s a complete work-a-holic. Barb is near and dear to my heart and I hope reader’s lover her as much as I do.

LP: Do you have anything in common with your heroine Barb Jackson?

AS: I love coffee and I’d live in my pajamas if I could. I’m a bit clumsy, but nothing like Barb. I hope most people who read about Barb find that they have something in common with her.

LP: The industry has gone through some big changes in the past few years and some authors who had been doing well with a big pub were let go, meanwhile many indie authors have really taken off – what do you think authors need to do to stay sharp and stay in this business?

AS: Just keep writing and promoting. That’s all we really can do whether we’re published with a big publisher or an indie. I’m still climbing the ladder, so I’m probably not the one to be giving advice, *big grin* but what’s worked for me is that I just keep working. I keep writing. I keep submitting, and I keep moving forward. Do I have set backs? Of course. I sit down have a good pity party, then stand up, brush myself off, and get back to work.

LP: What do you have coming down the road for your blonde sleuth Barb Jackson?

AS: Barb has a lot of things coming up. Illegally Blonde (Book 2 in the Barb Jackson Mysteries) releases on November 15th, 2016. In this one we’ll see Barb working hard and fast to prover her best friend’s innocents when she’s accused of killing her shifty rock star boyfriend.

In April 2017, Barb will be helping an acquaintance find out who’s killing the dancers of the Double Trouble Gentlemen’s Club, with some help from her office girl and pal Mandy, and her crazy Aunt Mona in Blonde and Fabulous (Barb Jackson Book 3). This is going to be a crazy fun one!

Anna Snow loves to give away swag as part of her promotions.

And later in 2017 Barb will be headed to the Bahama’s on a cruise with her hunky detective boyfriend Tyler Black in Bahama Blonde (Barb Jackson Book #4). This time, Barb discovers the slimy lounge singers dead body in an elevator and just has to stick her nose in and find the killer.

LP: What are three things that you think authors should do to promote their new releases?

AS: Word of mouth is HUGE. Always tell people about your work. Don’t beat them over the head with it, or nag them about it, but talk about it, and social media is a great tool to utilize when promoting a new book.

I, myself, always have business cards, bookmarks, ink pens, book cover postcards, and other swag items that I send out to whomever wants it and I hold a huge giveaway on my Facebook page every release day. Also, try to get a BookBub advertisement. They’re hard to land, and pricey, but if you can hook one, it’s definitely worth it.

LP: Tell us about three authors you love and why?

AS: Gemma Halliday is always first. Her stories are just so funny that I find myself thinking about them even after I’ve finished the book. The same goes for Jana DeLeon and Hannah Howell. I adore these women!

LP: You are also a self-published author and have written erotica – under the same name Anna Snow – what has been the response of your mystery readers to your foray into erotica?

AS: I have the best readers in the world!

I wrote erotica before stepping out of that genre and into cozy mystery and my readers have been so incredibly supportive and responsive to my books in both genres. I keep the two genres separate on my website and everyone seems to be alright with my writing both genres.

LP: BONUS QUESTION: I know you love cats – let’s say you’re Anna Snow’s cat – what could you tell me about Anna that she doesn’t want people to know? 

AS:  As Anna’s cat Roscoe:

Anna’s insane. Seriously.

Do you know that she steals my poop from the litter box and puts it in a plastic bag in a big thing she calls the trashcan? Geez. What a whack-job. That’s my business she throwing away!

She also does this thing where she tries to sing along with someone she calls “Prince” on the box that she calls a “radio”. It’s not pretty.

And she hides these yummy cookie things she calls a “Fig Newton” in her top desk drawer, then she complains that she didn’t lose any weight this week. But she gave me a piece of the “Newton” one time. I can’t blame her for eating them. They’re stinking delicious!

Check out the trailer for the Barb Jackson mysteries. Click on the image to view.

LP: Thanks so much for joining us Anna!

AS: Thanks for having me here today. I had a great time!

Connect with USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow via her website, on facebook and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

 

EVERYTHING by best-selling author J. M. Griffin is 50%. Including already reduced-priced books! All month long!

INCLUDING:

DEADLY BAKERY SERIES

VINNIE ESPOSITO SERIES

LINTY DRAGON SERIES

Who said life was simple, complacent, and boring?

After the man of her dreams, Scotsman Aidan Sinclair, walks into her bread shop, The Hole in the Wall Bakery, in Providence, Rhode Island, Melina Cameron’s life takes a sharp left turn. But then Melina’s entire life veers off course when she finds her temperamental landlady in her best friend’s psychic shop next door, lying in a pool of blood, with a crust of bread sticking out of her mouth!

Which means she and her friend BettyJo are suspects in the murder. Unless, Melina takes matters into her own hands and finds the killer herself. But finding a killer is a heck of a lot tougher than baking bread!

GET ALL OF J. M. GRIFFIN’S BOOKS FOR 50% OFF FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER!

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

USA Today Bestselling author Patricia McLinn

Patricia McLinn is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 books that include mystery, romance, and westerns She began her novel writing career with Silhouette Books (Harlequin) and was nominated for and won several writing awards, but her career really took off when she decided to go indie. She made the decision to go indie well before the explosion of indie publishing began. 

Before becoming a full time author, Patricia was an editor at the Washington Post for 23 years and a journalist for several years before that. She has a degree in English Composition and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University . A truly impressive resume.

LP: You began as a traditionally published author and now you self-publish exclusively. Tell us how that came about?

Patricia McLinn’s first published book with Silhouette in 1990 – was a RITA Award Finalist.

PM: My traditional career was so up and down that it would be banned as unsafe if it were a carnival ride. With one publisher I had about 32 editors for 25 books – hard to get any continuity or rhythm going. Some of those editors said I was “pushing the envelope.” Huh? What envelope? Where? I never got that.

I became increasingly frustrated with editorial limitations and poor decisions on scheduling, titles, marketing. I did encounter some outstanding editors. Frequently their hands were tied by the hierarchy. The upshot for me and many authors was having our careers ill-served.

Well before there was anything to do with them, I was getting rights back to my previously published books. No matter what, I figured I’d be happier with the rights in my hands.

In 2006 I remember thinking ebooks were going to pop sometime, some way. No idea when or how, but I was on the lookout. By 2008 I had ebooks available online, expanding to the major retailers in 2011.

An unexpected and marvelous benefit of going indie is that writing is a lot more fun now. Writing and publishing are very different activities. My experience in traditional publishing was that they actively conflicted. As an indie author, they do not conflict. They bolster each other.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Too bad the TV show CASTLE has come to an end.

PM: When the traditional publishing model works the way we all dream it might – think of it as the Richard Castle model from the TV show Castle – it’s marvelous. Brand name authors become an asset that publishing houses tend with some care. It’s different for mid-list or most entry-level authors. I was just listening to a Joanna Penn podcast with Jane Friedman in which they said contracts traditional publishers are offering first-time authors are worse than ever.

The exception is if you have a blockbuster book, everyone agrees it’s a blockbuster book, multiple publishers are willing to pay an advance commensurate with a blockbuster, the publisher you pick follows through on its promises, and all the marketing efforts work so that, in fact, your book becomes a blockbuster.

Patricia McLinn’s CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING is a bestselling mystery series about a news reporter sleuth.

Traditional publishing can reach a broader audience — the folks who read one or two books a year – while indie authors’ audience are devoted readers.

PM: Now, for the pros and cons of self-publishing.

Pro:  Nobody tells you what to write. Some indies might say the market tells you what to write, but that’s only if you listen. 😉 I’m to a stage where I write what I like to read, then try to find readers who enjoy that, too. I do not tailor my writing to trends. Writing is too consuming and too difficult to do if you’re not, first, enjoying it yourself.

Pro: You’re in charge. You decide when your book will come out, what it will look like, how it will be marketed.

Con: You’re in charge of implementing all those decisions. It’s a lot of work.

Pro: You can change things that aren’t working and you can do it quickly. Cover redesign? Tweaking something that always bugged you? Altering the book description? Price change? All that and so much more you can consider, decide on, implement, and then view the results in less time than it takes for a traditionally published author to hear back about whether his/her editor took his/her request to any of — much less all of — the meetings required to decide on a change.

Con: You’re in charge of implementing all those changes. It’s a lot of work.

Pro: You set your schedule. When it comes to “hurry up and wait” traditional publishing puts the military to shame.

Patricia McLinn’s WYOMING WILDFLOWERS is a bestselling romance series

Pro: You get paid in 60 days.

Pro: You’ll never fire yourself.

Con: You have a boss who’s a b**ch. 😉

LP: Ball-park figure. How much MONEY do you spend on each self-published book and what are the expenses involved in publishing your own book?

PM: Book cover — $200-900 (largely depending on cost of photos.) Formatting — $100-150. Editing/Proofing — $100-600. Marketing — $0 to the national debt.

I have a couple advantages. I was an editor with the Washington Post for 23 years and a journalist longer. I’m an experienced editor. However, nobody catches everything, especially not in their own work, which is why I always have a proofer.

Wyoming Wildflowers Boxed SetThe second advantage is that from having been published for twenty-six years, I have author buddies I can call and brainstorm with for story issues. In essence, they are my developmental editors. And I repay in kind.

The second advantage is that from having been published for twenty-six years, I have author buddies I can call and brainstorm with for story issues. In essence, they are my developmental editors. And I repay in kind.

LP:  Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .) Do you think it’s enough or not enough? Why?

PM: Oh, boy, I get to use my favorite answer – it depends.

When I’m deep in writing mode I try not to do much of that because it engages a different part of my brain/personality that is not conducive to writing. When I’m writing I don’t want to think about audience reach or ROI or strategy or any of that. I want my head so thoroughly in the fictional world that I’m astonished to walk outside and discover it’s not the season I’m writing about. (Which is why the neighbors think I’m that strange woman who wears winter coats to walk the dog when it’s 76 degrees out.)

Patricia’s upcoming release – you can pre-order on her site:

Other times I will spend all day on various aspects of marking and promotion. That’s on top of the time my executive assistant Kay devotes to these areas, along with help from a team of great folks helping with individual aspects. It’s been wonderful to be able to delegate some of this, to free up my writing brain.

Enough? Nah. Because there’s always something else I see out there that I could have done. Another strategy or outlet to try. The possibilities are never ending.

But that’s okay, because all those strategies, all those possibilities are in service of finding the right reader-author match.

LP: You have many series on the go. Including the bestselling CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING SERIES. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

PM: I love the interconnectedness of the communities in the series I’ve written. I love how a character learns a lesson in Book 1 and shares it with another character in Book 4. I love how the characters continue to grow past the end of their book. In romances, I don’t believe the ends of my books are Happily Ever After. Instead, they’re Happy Beginnings. What the characters learn and how they change brings the hero and heroine to the point where they can have a Happy Beginning.

Patricia McLinn has put a lot of effort into creating a visual and welcoming website for her fans.

In CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING each book has a mystery that’s completed by the end of the book. But the story of Elizabeth Margaret Danniher, her friends, and her stray dog Shadow develops over a number of books.

Elizabeth faces multiple crossroads in her life. Her marriage ended, her successful career was pulled out from under her, she’s plunked down in Wyoming, and trying to figure out what’s going on. Between solving murder mysteries, she is also solving the mystery of her life.

For me, writing a series lets me explore that great question “What happens next?”

LP: What social media networking sites do you use? Which one(s) work best for you and why?

PM: Mostly Facebook and Twitter. Some on Pinterest. I am looking at Instagram … mostly so I can inflict photos of my dog and garden on the wider world <eg>. The conversational threads are great on Facebook. Twitter appeals to my newspaper background. I wrote headlines for a lot of years, so 140 characters feels comfortable.

LP: You’ve hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list. What are 3 KEY THINGS THAT an author needs to do whether they are indie or traditionally published?

PM: Enjoy what you’re writing. Both because it comes through to the reader and because it will allow you to keep writing though a long career.

Fulfill your pledge to the reader. From the first paragraphs, you promise the reader a certain kind of read. Heck, before the reader starts Chapter One, s/he has an idea of what kind of reading experience this book is going to give him/her – from the packaging, the description, the title, your previous books.

Respect the reader. Those envelopes I kept being accused of pushing? Well, a lot of them had to do with this point. Readers do not need to be told the same thing 47 times, to have limited vocabulary, to have references constrained to current pop culture. Reading has always been a great education — as well as a great enjoyment – for me because authors didn’t undersell my ability to pick up new information from context or look something up.

LP: What is the most important thing you do when you release a new title?

PM: Inform the loyal, wonderful folks on my readers list via my newsletter. I try to give them any news first, along with deals, behind-the-scenes, and consumer tips. That’s the most important external thing. The most important internal thing is a lot of self-talk about one of the wonders of ebooks being that a book’s life is long and this is only the first day. Lots and lots of days to come when a good match can be made between the reader looking for my kind of read and my books.

Kathleen Eagle’s latest release is PRIVATE TREATY

LP: WHO are 3 authors that YOU look up to and admire and why?

PM: Limiting this to three is cruel. I’ll go for diversity in these three.

John McPhee in non-fiction. Because he can get me interested in topics I don’t care about beforehand (oranges, geology) and sustain my interest.

Georgette Heyer: Because her books seldom hit just one note – all-angst-all-the-time or over-the-top comedy. Instead, they have moments of humor, of seriousness, of confusion, of clarity – just like life. I especially like this in her murder mysteries.

Kathleen Eagle: Because she never stops respecting the reader.

LP: When readers message you – which series or book comes up most often as a fan favourite and why?

PM: Interesting question. It made me realize that people have contacted me about every one of my books/series.

I see reading as interactive. Readers don’t passively accept a story from the author. They bring so much of themselves to each book they read. A reader’s life experience or where they are at the moment will affect how they react to a book.

Okay, but you asked “most often.” Probably a tie between:

The Wyoming Wildflowers series, saying they feel so connected to the characters that they feel like family

The Caught Dead in Wyoming series, saying they love the realism of the characters and that the mystery has some humor, while still respecting the seriousness of the crime.

(Boy, this was hard, because there are devoted readers of the other series I feel like I’m leaving out.)

LP: Bonus: Dogs or cats and why?

PM: Dogs. Because there’s so much communication with them. Because they pick up on your moods and care. Because they’re inside pets who don’t use a litter box inside 😉 Though, realistically, it’s probably because my family had dogs all along, so that’s what I know better.

Patricia’s dog Kalli is no doubt the best writing companion ever. 🙂

Thank you!

You can connect with Patricia McLinn via her website, on facebook and on twitter and pinterest.

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Image: wellnesswritingretreats.com

For the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend writer and artist retreats. While you may think there are considerable differences, and there are some, the foundation of these types of retreats is creativity and what the effect is on those who attend.

There are many things that happen when attending these functions, such as listening to speakers, learning to use methods we haven’t tried before, eating great food we didn’t cook ourselves, and most of all we gather together to network and grow. We meet different people, get to sit and chat with our friends while making new ones. You might find yourself at a table with an agent, editor, publisher, a new author, a seeking-to-be author, and multi-published novelists/hybrids. The list goes on, but you get the idea. What a perfect time to ask those questions you’ve been trying to find the answers to from those who have been there, done that. A dining table is a perfect place for conversation, take advantage of it.

Image: mainewriters.org

Every year, some friends and I attend the Maine Writer’s Retreat in Portland. We’re greeted with enthusiasm, warmth, and much friendliness, which encourages us to return year after year. The RIRW retreat is the same way, and a good time is had by all.

Retreats allow us to relax, to connect without inner creativity, to learn from one another and the presenters, who are as relaxed as everyone else. You’ll find speakers are more willing to sit and talk with you, to be available to us, the creative people, who are interested in what their specialty.

Unlike conferences, where large amounts of money are required to participate in all the events taking place, including hotel costs, and airfare charges, I find retreats offer cozier accommodations and fewer attendees that make the atmosphere warmer than conferences will. While I enjoy both of these get-togethers, I would choose a retreat over a conference unless, of course, I was interested in attending speaker events all day, or pitching my latest work. This is only my personal preference, and I acknowledge others may feel differently, especially if they are only starting out and want to learn the ins and outs of the writing and publishing business.

Image: Hopkinton, Rhode Island Writer’s Retreat

To make the most of either of these venues, we must step outside our comfort zone and talk to complete strangers instead of remaining with our friends, to be daring enough to pose questions to those people we stand in awe of. It’s difficult, but we can do it, all of us, because to network, we must leave our comfort zone. Retreats are offered all over the place. Google has lists of them for writers, including Christian writing retreats, and more. I Googled writer retreats for New England and came up with some great places in Massachusetts, Vermont, and one in Hopkinton, RI.

An upcoming retreat in Portland, Maine can be found here:  and another will be held in New Hampshire this fall in Manchester, NH. For more information on finding a Writer’s Retreat near you or somewhere you really want to go check out writersretreat.com – a great resource that lists retreats worldwide.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

J.M. Griffin. is the author of two cozy mystery series for Lachesis Publishing. The popular (and sexy) Vinnie Esposito series and the fun (and yummy) Deadly Bakery series and the co-author of the dark and compelling Linty Dragon Mystery Series. Book 1 Dragon’s Touch is out now!

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

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Our Deal of the Week is the cozy mystery A CRUSTY MURDER by J.M. Griffin. (Book 1 in the Deadly Bakery Series)  a delectable cozy mystery that will not only entertain you, but will have you craving carbs!

GET IF FOR .99 CENTS (OR LESS) AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

AMAZON

KOBO

BARNES AND NOBLE

iBOOKS

LACHESIS PUBLISHING

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Who said life was simple, complacent, and boring?

After the man of her dreams, Scotsman Aidan Sinclair, walks into her bread shop, The Hole in the Wall Bakery, in Providence, Rhode Island, Melina Cameron’s life takes a sharp left turn. But then Melina’s entire life veers off course when she finds her temperamental landlady in her best friend’s psychic shop next door, lying in a pool of blood, with a crust of bread sticking out of her mouth!

Which means she and her friend BettyJo are suspects in the murder. Unless, Melina takes matters into her own hands and finds the killer herself. But finding a killer is a heck of a lot tougher than baking bread!

You can also purchase any and all of J.M. Griffin’s cozy mysteries at amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble and iBooks

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Grammar RulesImage: www.loc.gov

When most people talk about how their job influences their writing, you discover that the astronomer writes science fiction, the court reporter crafts legal procedurals or, at the very least, the teacher knows his or her grammar inside and out.

I could tell you a similar story about being a copy writer and editor. I can write pretty much anything on demand as long as it’s in English and it isn’t fiction. Fiction I have to do according to my own muse. Yet, there’s no doubt that my fiction is better crafted because I have had to write on pretty much anything, to a deadline that might have been yesterday when I was given the job.

Image: Crime Writers of Canada

Writing for clients did something even more profound for me. It made it easier for me to accept criticism, without it destroying my ego, and make to use of it. I would never have submitted my novels to publishers if I hadn’t hardened my shell on the stony shore of corporate newsletters and ghostwriting.

Likewise, I owe a lot to my job with Crime Writers of Canada. No, that’s not quite right. I owe a lot to being a member of Crime Writers of Canada . . . including my job and one of my publishers. It was all about networking and timing. Never underestimate the importance of timing.

Alison Bruce aka Crossing Guard Extraordinaire

However, that’s not what I’m going to write about. There are writers and editors and networkers aplenty for that. I want to tell you how handy it is to be a crossing guard when you’re a writer.

You can’t make a living at being a crossing guard. After all, you’re only working three hours a day and only on school days. On the other hand, it’s a great job for money you can count on. When you work freelance or speculatively, which is a good description for a novelist, it’s nice to know you have a certain amount of money coming your way regardless of sales or commissions. Unlike my work for CWC, it’s also completely predictable. Being a crossing guard is relatively stress-free if you don’t count the motorists who forget they’re driving in a school zone.

Neither wind, nor snow, nor sleet . . . you get the picture.Image: www.mlive.com

The weather can be a pain. Barring snow days, and we don’t get many of those, we’re out in rain, snow, sleet and hail, skin-searing sunshine and bone-chilling cold. It’s all grist for the mill. I can imagine I’m a soldier on guard in the pouring rain or a hiker feeling like they’ll be blown off the trail by the wind.

Then there’s the random story generation game.

At the beginning and end of each shift, there’s a dead time when almost no one comes by. During that time, I tell myself stories with the help of passing cars. The letters or numbers from the license plates act like the roll of a die in making choices or quantifying damage or risk.

A Bodyguard to Remember started with a corner story. I wanted new flooring. Seriously, that was the seed idea. I decided a dead body in the living room would get me a floor.

How did he die? A for being shot. B for being stabbed. If it was an older plate that didn’t start with A or B, I’d have to come up with other options.

Who would investigate? I came up with three choices: City Police, OPP or RCMP. Using the numbers in the plate I got RCMP. They wouldn’t investigate common murder, so I had to come up with something that would bring them onto the case. As a result, my murder mystery involved espionage.

A hero to remember?

What would the detective look like? I didn’t stick with the one I came up with at the corner but I did stick with the initials I pulled from a car. I still remember the plate was BDMZ ###. I don’t remember the numbers. They weren’t important. I remember the letters. They generated Detective Sergeant David Merrick.

I’ve never got as much out of my musing at the corner as I did for A Bodyguard to Remember. Usually I come up with a solution to a problem by using the random number system to suggest possibilities. It’s a way to brainstorm with myself. Many times the stories I come up with are absolutely useless except for making that dead five minutes seem to pass more quickly.

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. She is the author of mystery, romantic suspense and historical western romance novels. She is also the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards Administrator, a freelance writer/editor/designer and an Adult School Crossing Guard for the City of Guelph.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing. You can also purchase your copy at amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

 

Friends forever: From left (Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval (JD) Spikes

I sat down with one of my best friends and fellow author Annette Blair, a multi-award winning and New York Times bestseller, to talk about her writing journey.

Here’s what she had to say:

JD: To start, Annette, tell us who inspired you early on in your career and why?

Rita Award (Annual Awards) of the Romance Writers of America)

AB: I’d have to say, early on, Nancy Bulk who wrote as Dee Holmes, a Harlequin  Silhouette author. We met at a local writers group, became friendly and she took me under her wing. I admired not only her writing, but her work ethic and her  determination. I was seated in the audience at RWA National (Romance Writers of America) when she won their Rita Award and I cried, it was so inspiring. She was the first author I knew to win such a big award.

JD:   That must have been very exciting. You, yourself, have now won many awards for your writing. My favorite book of yours has always been Unforgettable Rogue, with the fascinating hero Bryceson Wakefield. I love how you gave the Beauty and the Beast theme that Annette Blair twist, too. Do you have a favorite Annette Blair book?

AB: Actually, Unforgettable Rogue is one of my favorites, too. And Thee I Love, rereleased as Jacob’s Return, an Amish historical and one of the three books that comprised my first sale. I loved trips to Amish country to research and Jacob and Rachel’s struggles hold a special place in my heart.

JD: You had a fan send you a touching note about that book, didn’t you?

AB: Yes! A European fan wrote to say that reading Jacob’s Return, taught her God would forgive anything. That was sweet, and a testament to the power of words, I think.

JD:  When did you realize that you were truly a successful author? That you’d “made it” so to speak?

AB: When I started writing for Berkeley, now Penguin Random House. That was the first. The Kitchen Witch really took me into another realm. The second first was when I hit the New York Times with one of my cozy mysteries. That was the culmination of a dream.

JD: OMG, yes! Hitting the NYT was as exciting for your friends as it was for you. So  tell me, what advice can you give authors who are just starting out, or who haven’t broken through in terms of sales or hitting bestseller lists, to reach their dream?

AB:  Two pieces of advice that are the best, in my opinion, are write the best book you can and Never Give Up. Tenacity sometimes appears to be underappreciated but  it’s truly what helps you to succeed.

JD: Very good advice, Annette. Speaking of the best, what qualities do you feel make a romance novel a true “keeper” – a beloved book that you will read over and over again?

Beautiful Emotional Book.

AB: Emotional connection. If your emotions are engaged, you can become those  characters. You enter their world and lose the real world around you.

JD:  I agree. I’ve always said the mark of a keeper for me is when I feel I’ve lived the    story. I’ve inhabited that world and know these people by the time I reach the end.

I’m sure many readers have Annette Blair books on their keeper shelves. What’s one of the coolest things a fan has ever done for you?

AB:  One reader crocheted a table mat that she’d woven Annette Blair into. That was pretty impressive.

JD: Nice! No easy task, either. Can we tell your fans about your latest release?

AB: Of course (we laugh). I’ve recently released Three Days on a Train, a romance novella about lost love that finds its way home. They met as youngsters, two different sides of the tracks, neither impressed with the other, but by high school  theirs was a passion for the ages. Her disapproving father interferes, causing each to think they were the abandoned one. Thirteen years later their friends trick them  into three days on a train.

JD:  Sounds intriguing. What do you have in the works for novels?

AB:  My current project is Everlasting, a contemporary romance. The hero and heroine meet when a building collapses and they are trapped. Fate planned for him to live and her to die, but he turns the table, giving her his escape route that can only hold one. In heaven, he becomes her guardian angel, a reward that quickly becomes a punishment for him when he falls in love with her. Noticing his poor attention to his other charges, his angel friend pushes him back to earth for a chance at everlasting love.

JD:  That is a great story. As friends, we often bounce ideas and questions off each other. You have many author friends dear to you. Why is this type of community so important to an author?

AB:  A fellow writer will understand you like no other. Writers get writers, even better than the people who love them, They get those writer idiosyncrasies and understand the issues that can throw you off track – or keep you on. Ours is a solitary art and having people you can reach out to within that world is priceless.

JD:  Very true. Now, you are considered a hybrid author since you are published both traditionally and independently. You’ve since chosen to exclusively self-publish. How did you find that transition?

Lachesis Publishing Anthology

AB:  I didn’t find it difficult at all. While I still have published work with Lachesis and Penguin Random House, and those experiences were good experiences, I’m very happy with self-publishing. I enjoy the control I have over my work now.

JD:  That’s a good point. Can you tell us what’s changed for you in terms of marketing and promotional work?

AB:  I now have daily marketing responsibilities, so much so that I’ve had to hire help, so it’s time-consuming, but it’s rewarding.

JD:  For you, what have been some pros and cons of self-publishing?

AB: PROS: I have total control of my work, from back cover blurbs and marketing to  covers. Covers were a huge incentive for me. CONS: Foreign sales and audio sales can get complicated. It’s a learning curve, but again, to me it’s worth it.

JD:  Before you go, I have one last question. It’s tricky, because we know you love snacks, but what go-to treat do you like to indulge in when you’re writing.

AB:   I do love snacks. Now you said treat, so I’m going to go with Cape Cod Chips.

JD:   Great choice! They’re so crunchy good. Thank you for sitting with me and chatting, Annette. As always, it’s been fun and informative.

J.D. Spikes is the author of the YA paranormal The Possession and co-author of  Sisters of Spirit Anthology You can purchase The Possession at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe.

Annette Blair a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her novella, “Moving Pictures” is featured in the lyrical romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit  published by Lachesis Publishing.

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair on facebook.

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J.M. Griffin (Jeanne Paglio) at a past New Jersey’s Writer’s Conference is all smiles as well as all talent.

My friend, Jeanne Paglio, who writes funny and entertaining cozy mysteries as J.M. Griffin, would never describe herself as a Superstar Author. She says she’s a hardworking author, and that’s an understatement. Since I first met Jeanne through the Rhode Island Romance Writers RIRW and our critique group, more years ago than I’d like to count, she’s been creating fun fiction and art books at lightening speed. On top of all that, she (strongly) encourages, helps, and inspires others to reach for their dreams, too.

The Vinnie Esposito Boxed Set Containing Books 1, 2, 3 is currently on sale for less than .99 cents at amazon!http://amzn.to/1l6zAeh

A proponent of “write what you know,” J.M.’s Vinnie Esposito Series is chock full of inspiration from Jeanne’s colorful life and sense of humor. Food always plays a part. Her father-in-law, the patriarch of her Italian family, was a chef who was always in the kitchen creating her favorite meals. Tops on Jeanne’s list: his flavorful Chicken Cacciatore.

Image: eatocracy.cnn.com

His favorite line will be remembered by J.M.’s fans. “What’s the other hand for?” The answer is bread!

Of all her “Vinnie Books,”  COLD MOON DEAD is Jeanne’s  favorite. Tony Jabroni steals the show as a larger than life mobster in a story that “had no plan,” yet unfolded perfectly as Jeanne wrote it. With most of her stories, Jeanne starts with a beginning and an end, but no middle. This doesn’t worry her. The middle part is the journey – that’s the fun part.

J.M. Griffin is the author of The Vinnie Esposito Series, The Deadly Bakery Series and the co-author (with her late daughter Kristina Paglio) of the upcoming Linty Dragon Series

More writing advice from Jeanne, for those who are starting out: Never give up! Hone your craft. Get an Editor! This last piece of advice is critical. Jeanne sees so many books with the potential to be winners, yet simple mistakes take the reader out of the story. She gives accolades to the staff at Lachesis Publishing for their attention to details and for going that extra mile for their authors.

Knowing Jeanne, it’s easy to see that her diverse background and experience, as well as her sense of humor, spark endless stories. And that’s just the start of a successful author. She does what it takes—writing daily, promoting on social media, creating art that engages people, and “paying it forward.” You won’t find a more generous person.

When one of her critique partners whines, she says, “Don’t make me come up there.” Of course, she does, and soon the problem is solved. “Onward and upward” is another of her favorite remarks. It amazes me how much that helps.

Jeanne’s Zentangle books (as Jeanne Paglio) help people de-stress and have fun with this simple, engrossing art form. Her fiction, as J.M. Griffin, is fun and entertaining. As a friend, she’s an inspiration, a hard worker, and definitely a superstar.

J.M. Griffin. is the bestselling author of two cozy mystery series for Lachesis Publishing. The sexy and funny Vinnie Esposito series and the entertaining and yummy Deadly Bakery series for

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

Maeve Christopher is the author of the Redemption Series (part family saga, part suspense and part love story — with a touch of the Supernatural), and the soon to be released A Ring and a Prayer (Book 1 in the Golden Bowl inspirational romance series) (Lachesis Publishing)

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THIS WEEK’S DEAL OF THE WEEK IS Season for Murder, by J.M. Griffin. Vinnie Esposito Series (Book 5).

You can also get it FOR .99 cents (or less) on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

and at Lachesis Publishing.

What it’s about:

When a woman is poisoned to death at a Christmas bake sale that Vinnie’s mother organized, suspicion turns to Mrs. Esposito.

Vinnie is not about to stand by and let her mother get framed for murder, no matter that Vinnie’s dad forbids them from sneaking around. Her boyfriend, sexy State Trooper Marcus Richmond is worried about Vinnie’s safety, not to mention any laws she might be breaking. Her friend and upstairs tenant, FBI Agent Aaron Grant is off on a secret mission, so at least he’s not around to yell at her.

Vinnie is determined to find out who is behind this evil act . . . and why. The trouble is, Vinnie gets her tenaciousness from her mother, and when the two of them start snooping, danger follows.

But nobody messes with the Esposito family. Not even a cold-blooded killer.

EXCERPT:

The door burst open. My aunt Muffy entered the house like the invasion of Normandy. Mom and I turned toward her at the same time.

“Well, Mafalda, come on in,” Mom said rising to get another glass.

“Make mine Burgundy, Theresa,” Muffy ordered.

With a kiss to her cheek, I waited until Muffy settled at the table before I glanced out the window to see if anyone else would storm the house. All was clear. I resumed my seat.

“Did you know that Iva Lindon passed away? I just got a call from Concetta Fonseca. She said it happened a little while ago,” Muffy blurted.

“I know. I was there when it happened. So was Lavinia.” Mom set the wine glass and bottle on the table in front of Muffy.

My aunt is a strong-minded woman with a mouth that would put a truck driver to shame. She also dated mob connected men. A habit we couldn’t seem to break her of. Muffy had a heart of gold where the family was concerned. She glanced at me and then turned to stare at my mother’s tear-streaked face.

“Don’t even tell me you’re both involved in this unfortunate woman’s death. Good God, can you not stay out of trouble for one minute, Lavinia?”

“I didn’t do anything,” I said with hands outstretched to ward off the oncoming lecture. “I was an innocent bystander in all this, Auntie.”

“So, tell me what happened,” Muffy demanded as her jet black eyes became intense and sparkly.

My mother shared our experience. She managed to keep it together when describing the scene where Iva croaked.

“Imagine that,” was all Muffy could say as she glanced at the two of us and gulped the remaining liquor from her glass.

“A policeman arrived, and I think he wanted to arrest me. I’m sure of it. Mrs. Galumpky was very offensive, and if Lavinia hadn’t intervened, I’d have been hauled away in handcuffs.”

Muffy’s dark eyes peered at me when she turned in my direction.

“Did you know this cop?”

“Yeah, it was Nick Pirelli. He patrols that neighborhood. Do you remember him? He lived down the street from us as kids.”

“I do. His father was an ass and his mother was a timid woman who jumped when his father said so, the bully.” Muffy snickered. “I kicked his ass more than once when we were young.”

Chuckling at the idea of my short, stout aunt kicking some guy’s butt, I watched my mother begin to relax. Muffy kept the stream of stories up until my mother had restored her sense of humor. Leave it to Muffy to save the day, I thought with relief.

Like what you’ve read? Check out Season for Murder by J.M. Griffin. It’s only .99 cents this week at Lachesis Publishing!

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