The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors

The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors large banner640

Today I welcome author Julie Seedorf to my pages to talk about her cozy mystery, The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. Welcome, photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?

I like the premise of a book that doesn’t use bad language, graphic sex or graphic violence. I feel we have too much of that in our society. I don’t use bad language myself, and I taught my children and grandchildren that bad language is not allowed in my house, so I can’t write about it either. I want my books to be able to be picked up by adults and not have the parents worry if their kids should start reading my books. Although I still question myself because my new step-grandson asked me why I had to murder someone in my books. That question makes me think long and hard at what I write. I also enjoy reading cozy mysteries.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
This novel is the first book in my second series. My first series takes place in the fictional town of Fuchsia, Minnesota. Brilliant is mentioned in Fuchsia and is not far away. For this series, I wanted my characters to be just as quirky and a little younger. I also wanted my mystery to be a little different than my other series. Fuchsia is very pink and defies rules. Brilliant was founded by the Brilliant Brothers, and their minds created some intriguing secrets.
Jezabelle Jingle and her neighbors live in the first neighborhood in Brilliant, the Penderghast neighborhood. Each person in the neighborhood has secrets of their own, and they find the neighborhood holds a puzzle, leading them down a road of mystery, crazy events and even murder. The neighbors are all ages and have moved into the neighborhood at different times. None of them had any idea, especially Jezabelle who has lived there the longest, that the Brilliant Brothers built their neighborhood as a puzzle. They only realize it when Mr. Warbler is found trapped between floors in his house because someone carved up his floor and stole a hardwood square.
Jezabelle, my main character, is snarky, funny and has a secret love life no one knows about. She is smart, quick and not afraid to try new things. She takes her best friend, Lizzy, and the rest along with her to unearth the history of Brilliant, still leaving questions when this puzzle is solved, making the group realize solving this puzzle is just the tip of the iceberg in a community they thought they knew. There are also some crossovers with Fuchsia.
As far as my idea for this book — I wrote the first chapters before I wrote my Fuchsia Series, and I dug it back out and decided with a little tweaking, it would make the perfect follow-up series for my Minnesota books. Ideas just pop in my head. My goal is to take people away from real life for a few moments and give them something to laugh and smile about.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I don’t except to say I hope they like to be silly and enjoy a little fantasy and fun. My readers are all ages, and I feel my books span all ages. I do have some children’s books out that highlight the relationship between grandmothers and grandchildren. I also write a column for newspapers. Currently, I am in the process of writing a serious book that deals with aging and searching for acceptance with the later years of life.

Please describe your writing routine.
When I first was offered a contract with Coy Cat Press and I saw the writing routines of other authors, I felt almost defeated, as if I needed to change the way I write to conform to the way others thought the ritual should be. I finally realized each author must have their own routine. I get an idea or even if I don’t have one – I began to write and the story comes. There are times I don’t know what is going to happen, and it appears on paper. I stop and wonder what to do next because it wasn’t something I planned. My mind is always whirling so I have to adapt my writing style. I can sit all day or I can sit for a few hours. So, no, I don’t have a routine. It seems to work for me.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Not everyone is going to like what you write. Listen to your heart and not your head. If it feels right to you, believe in yourself. Stay true to who you are. Success doesn’t come right away after being published. That is a hard thing to remember because we all want to sell lots of books, but it takes time to build up a following. Don’t give up your dream.

More about The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors:
Jezabelle Jingle and her neighbors in the Penderghast section of Brilliant, Minnesota, have a mystery on their hands.
Cover artSomeone is stealing sections of hardwood floors in their homes and the thefts may be connected to a long-hidden treasure left by the founders of Brilliant. Not only that, there’s a dead body in a basement to add to the mix. Can Jezzie and her quirky friends figure out the puzzle and find the treasure before some other, unknown person–maybe the murderer–beats them to the punch? Or will the town’s Chief of Police, Hank Hardy, prevent the group from their sleuthing? Anything can happen in the strange little town of Brilliant, Minnesota. After all, brilliant minds create brilliant finds!

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01BDZWAE4]

How to connect with Julie:
Email address:
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Paperback: Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:
Signed copies available on the author’s website under SHOP:!shop/wroqv

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Failure is Fatal

Lesley A. Diehl visits my blog to talk about her newest release, Failure is Fatal. Welcome, Lesley. I’m so delighted to host you photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I have lived in small towns for most of my life, so the setting of a cozy mystery is familiar to me. I can’t imagine trying to write something set in an urban area. While I like to construct complicated plots, I like mysteries where the characters can be explored in some depth, and I prefer to have a cast of characters that I can introduce to the reader. The interplay among them is important to making the story compelling and encouraging the reader to solve the puzzle of the crime. The reader should have a sense that the people inhabiting the book are reachable.
The aspect of a cozy that is most important to me is the implied contract that is developed between the writer and the reader, the contract that says this book will not disappoint. I will solve this crime and set the village right again, perhaps not the same as before, but the bad guy or gal will be brought to some kind of justice. There is an inherent optimism in a cozy mystery: this crime can be solved and justice will prevail.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Failure Is Fatal is the second book in the Laura Murphy mysteries and, as with the first one, Murder Is Academic, we have snoopy Dr. Laura Murphy, a member of the psychology department at a small public university in Upstate New York, investigating murder, this time of a coed. She’s encouraged to help ferret out clues by a detective and her good friend in the local police department. Her obsession with finding the killer puts her relationship with Guy LaFrance on the back burner, making the future of their love affair problematic. But Laura perseveres despite Guy’s reservations. Fueled with chocolate and her nosy nature, Laura’s quest brings her into conflict with a local fraternity and forces her to look closely into her own past for clues in this murder.
The idea for the book came out of a study on sexual harassment undertaken by my undergraduate research assistants and me the year before I retired. The project, hitting close to home for some faculty on campus, stirred up controversy. I simply took that controversy and blew it up into a murder.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
The typical reader for my work is a woman over the age of forty, and knowing this about my readers, I write to this description, not only because it appeals to this group, but also because cozy mysteries always find this age and gender group as their reading audience. Mysteries set in a small town where the characters know one another, where motives for murder abound and are intimate, and where the protagonist is fond of and part of village life is my ideal reader’s cup of tea, although cozies can feature jazzier settings and quite sassy protagonists. I think Laura Murphy is that kind of protagonist. If my readers don’t want to be like her because she’s too outgoing and in-your-face, they secretly like her style and might want her as the friend who says what they might not. I write the protagonists I like, but I’m pretty certain I’m creating a story the reader will find compelling because I include humor as well as serious themes, and the bad guy always gets it in the end.

Please describe your writing routine.
I do most of my writing in the morning and afternoon. With my morning coffee, I check my emails and attend to the business of writing and promotion. I’ll then work on my manuscript, taking a break for lunch and returning to work in the afternoon. I try to take computer breaks every hour, engaging in more active tasks such as walking to get the mail, doing a load of laundry, hanging out clothes, gardening, prepping for dinner or cleaning a closet. There’s something about cleaning a closet or organizing my desk or a bureau of clothing that allows me to let my thoughts free and sometimes I get writing ideas from accomplishing these menial tasks. I never write after dinner or before I go to bed. I’ve found that I can’t sleep if I do.
As for the writing itself, sometimes I have a plot outline which I check from time to time. Other times, I’m just winging it. I do go back and reread what I’ve written the day before so that I can pick up the thread of where I’m headed and to give my writing flow.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Learn your craft by reading about it, taking classes offered by the Guppies, the unpublished arm of Sisters In Crime, joining professional writing organizations such as Mystery Writers of America or Sisters in Crime, attending conferences, finding a critique partner, or joining a critique group online or in your area. Read books in your genre, lots of them. Read outside your genre. Talk with other authors, but don’t use them as the final word on what you write or how you write it. Your aunt wants the best for you, but she’s probably not the best judge of your work, so don’t think friends and relatives will function well as sounding boards. You need feedback, so get it from professional sources by swapping manuscripts or partial manuscripts through the Guppies Group as suggested above. If you are going to go the traditional route in publishing by finding an agent, learn how to do this. Learn how to write a synopsis and a query letter.
Most importantly, find your own voice, the one you’re comfortable with, and then write, write, write!

More About Failure is Fatal:
Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed.
coverLaura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus — colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members. Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past — the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own — is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01AYNXO64]

How to connect with Lesley:
Twitter: @lesleydiehl

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To Catch A Treat

bannerAuthor Linda O. Johnston visits my pages today to talk about her newest release, To Catch A Treat. Welcome, photo
Hi. I’m delighted to be here as part of my Great Escapes Book Tour.  I’d like to tell you about me and my writing and my latest work.
First: me.  My name is Linda O. Johnston, and I’m here to let people know about my latest release: To Catch A Treat. It’s the second book in my Barkery & Biscuits Mystery Series. The first book was Bite The Biscuit, which was released a year ago. It was a finalist in the fiction category of the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Awards.
In addition to the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, I also write the Superstition Mysteries for the same publisher, Midnight Ink. The second Superstition Mystery, Knock On Wood, was released last October, and the third, Unlucky Charms, will be out in October of this year.
If you haven’t guessed,  I write a lot. To Catch A Treat is my 42nd published novel. In addition to my mysteries, I write for two Harlequin series. My Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel Clandestine Attraction will be published this August. I also write the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters for Harlequin’s paranormal romance Nocturne line.
So why do I write?  It’s who I am, what I do.  Why do I write cozy mysteries?  Because I love them. And I love dogs. All of my mysteries feature dogs. I additionally enjoy writing romances, and there are also canines in my Alpha Force miniseries — werewolves! Also, the shifters have cover dogs in case they’re seen in shifted form.
For many years, I was an attorney specializing in real estate law. That was fun while it lasted, but I started getting my fiction published while I practiced law. Eventually, I became the full-time writer that I am today.
In addition to writing novels, I enjoy blogging and letting people know about my published work and just getting out there and meeting readers and other writers in person… and virtually!

More about To Catch A Treat:
Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of the Barkery and Biscuits bake shop, agrees to a day of hiking with her brother Neal mostly because she wants to meet — and critique — his latest romantic interest, Janelle Blaystone. But instead of judgment, Carrie has only sympathy for Janelle, whose beloved black Labrador, Go, was recently dognapped along with many other purebred pets.
cover artJanelle thinks the culprit is Ada Arnist, a wealthy homeowner spotted at the dog parks where Go and the others were stolen. Soon after Janelle confronts her, though, Ada is found dead. With Janelle and Neal on the suspect list, Carrie must solve the mystery before the police bark up the wrong tree.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01A5OGVOE]

How to connect with Linda:

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Without A Doubt

WITHOUT A DOUBT large banner 640Nancy Cole Silverman talks today about her newest release, Without A Doubt. This is the third book in the series and draws upon Nancy’s 25-year career in radio journalism. Welcome, Nancy.Author photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
When I first started writing, I hadn’t heard the term. I just knew that I like to write with a sense of suspense and humor. In fact, I couldn’t do one without the other. I think that makes for a more interesting and refreshing story arch. It was publisher who identified my genre as cozy, but I like to think of it as cozy with a bite.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
I worked in news and talk radio for twenty five years and when I retired I was intrigued with the idea about writing a mystery series about what I experienced firsthand. Listeners think they know that bodiless voice and often would call in after a show to talk; they would reveal so much more than they might in person or to law enforcement.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Cozy readers are mostly women 45+, but I like to think both men and woman 35+ would find The Carol Childs Mysteries of interest. Particularly those searching for a complex mystery with several subplots dealing both with the crime and interpersonal relationships.

Please describe your writing routine.
I write everyday, all day. I take numerous breaks. I never try to push myself for several solid hours at one sitting. Rather I schedule lunch and breaks throughout the day, but I’m always in the office by 7:45 a.m. and I never leave before 4 p.m. On average, I write about 3 to 4 hours a day.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Read. Write, and rewrite. Writing is in the rewriting. Never sit down to write to a word count. Rather, write a scene and when that scene done, write another. Most importantly, when you’re finished, put it aside for awhile, then review it with fresh eyes, maybe a month later.

More about Without A Doubt:
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
Cover artIn order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts — pitting them against one another — before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01C4LEFTE]

How to connect with Nancy:
Email address:
Facebook: /
Twitter: @nancycolesilver

Nancy is giving away three autographed copies of the book. Enter here to win.
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With A Vengeance

bannerToday, I welcome Annette Dashofy to share her latest release, With A Vengeance. Welcome, Annette.Author profile

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve always loved reading mysteries and solving the puzzles. I didn’t set out to write cozies, and mine are actually considered gritty cozies, or as Hank Phillippi Ryan dubbed them, Not Quite Cozy. There’s quite a bit of humor in them, which I think sways them back under the cozy umbrella.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
With A Vengeance is the fourth book in the series and deals with someone opening fire on first responders as they arrive at emergency calls. The inspiration came from a news article that I vaguely remember reading, although I can’t recall the details. But that’s fine since I made up my own! Having been an EMT and having walked sometimes blindly into situations to rescue people, the thought of someone shooting at me in those circumstances was terrifying.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’ve tried to picture my “ideal reader” and can’t quite do it. I write the kind of stories I like to read. I’ve come to realize I have a great many readers who are school teachers, so if there’s a group I keep in mind as I write, it would be them. I guess in a way I’m still penning essays for my high school English class!

Please describe your writing routine.
As a rule, I get up early (5AM), get my husband off to work, grab some coffee and some breakfast—I check emails and Facebook while I’m eating—and then sit down to write around 7. I work until 9 or 9:30. The rest of my day varies quite a bit. But those morning hours of writing stay pretty consistent.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
I get asked this a lot. My advice is to join a good writing group (I belong to Pennwriters and Sisters in Crime among others, and would never have gotten published without them), learn your craft, write and rewrite until you have the best story you possibly can, and never, ever give up.

More about With A Vengeance:
Paramedic Zoe Chambers and the rest of rural Monongahela County’s EMS and fire personnel are used to wading into the middle of trouble to rescue the sick and the injured.
cover artBut when someone with an ax to grind seeks retribution by staging accident scenes and gunning down the first responders, Zoe finds herself forced to not only treat her own brethren of the front lines, but also, in her role as deputy coroner, seek out whoever is killing her friends.
At the same time, Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams races to track down a gun, a mysterious all-terrain vehicle, and the sniper before Zoe goes back on duty, placing herself — and Pete — firmly in the gunman’s crosshairs.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01BGZOFSU]

How to connect with Annette:

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Between Good and Evil

Today, I welcome R. Michael Phillips to talk about his novel, Between Good and Evil. I really enjoyed this interview, and I hope you do too. Welcome, Michael!

Why do you write fiction?
Author photoFiction is, and always has been, a great escape from the demands and sometimes drudgery of our everyday lives. Before there were movies, or TV, or Smartphones, there were books. Books filled with stories of faraway lands, colorful characters, or worlds far beyond our own. The authors of these books allowed an individual to experience other cultures or different periods in time. They brought romance into some lives and mystery into others. They introduced us to Pip and Mrs. Havisham, Holmes and Watson, Mr. Darcy, Scarlett O’Hara, and so many more leading to current favorites like Harry Potter, Jesse Stone, and Katniss Everdeen. Characters so real we feel we’ve known them forever.
So, why do I write fiction? Having the ability to create a character, develop a story around them, and then present them to readers is one of the most creatively rewarding things you can do. Over the course of writing the new Auburn Notch series I’ve developed a few new characters that I hope readers will come to love or hate as I do. I’m just finishing the second book in the series, so I’ve gotten to know these characters pretty well. My reward for doing this is hearing what my readers think of them.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Between Good And Evil is the first book in my new Auburn Notch Mysteries. The book introduces Sheriff Promise Flynn, an overly impulsive Metro Detective whose disregard for procedure finally resulted in her being shot and left for dead during an investigation. To repair her bruised ego and splintered confidence she abandons the callous dark alleys of Chicago to patrol the quiet, birch-lined streets of Auburn Notch. What she wasn’t expecting were her troubles following her there.
Promise is a combination of the personalities of two people I met years ago. My recollection of them was so strong that when it came time to develop a main character for the new series I drew from those memories. With a little creative license I added something extra to her background, darkening the past enough to add a mysterious note to an otherwise outwardly carefree appearance. We all have skeletons in our closets; it’s when they choose to rattle their bones that make our lives interesting.
As for the town of Auburn Notch? I spent many years in New Hampshire, skiing, hiking, and just enjoying the scenery and the hospitality of the wonderful New Englanders. I still look forward to every trip back there. There is genuineness to the towns I spent time in and the people who make up those towns. It was an easy choice for a setting when I was putting together the series. I believe location is so important to any story that it should be treated like a character. The setting has to make sense of the events.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’ve read mysteries all my life, so the progression to writing them seemed to just happen. The readers I hope will enjoy my books are readers quite like myself — people who enjoy whodunits with quirky characters, surprising plot twists, and Aha! moments peppered in throughout the book. They enjoy a good puzzle and get to the answer right along with the main character. The Auburn Notch Mysteries are a little darker than my Ernie Bisquets Mysteries; they’re English cozies. The new series has a bit more suspense to it, something I hope my readers will enjoy as much as I do writing it.

Please describe your writing routine.
I have, since I first opened my laptop and typed the first words of my first book some 10 years ago, devote all day Saturday to writing. Whether it’s one paragraph, one chapter, or research for certain technical aspects of the book, I devote 8-10 hours every Saturday to writing. This is not to say I don’t throw together notes and plot ideas during the week, because I do. I’m constantly jotting down ideas, dropping them off on my desk all week long. But when Saturday comes, I hit the keys hard and stay at it all day. My family is very supportive, which I appreciate immensely. I think the key to writing is establishing a routine and sticking to it. I talk to other writers all the time who write just about every day. They all tell me the same thing — they get distracted and don’t get as much done as they hoped. Treat writing like a job; set hours and be there on time.

What advice do you give writers just starting their careers?
There are many stumbling blocks along the way when writing your first book, too many to really mention but none that you can’t overcome. Along with those you should remember, there are no magic formulas. If you follow a few basic steps it will take the pain out of writing that first novel. First, get the story out of your head and into a basic book form. This is your first draft. It will be short, terrible, and an editor’s nightmare, but it will at least be a story. Second, go back to the beginning and start fleshing out your characters, cleaning up the plot, and correcting grammar. Done correctly, this should significantly increase your word count along with polishing your book. Third, hire an editor to check the entire book. This can be done relatively inexpensively, and should be looked at as an investment in your work. This is important, so don’t skip this step. If you want to be taken as a serious writer, a polished manuscript will speak volumes. From here you start the query process and the next book. A good query is just as important as the book itself. It is the first impression an agent/publisher will have of you and your work. Make it count. I highly suggest a query-writing seminar. There are a lot of good ones out there. While the query process is going on, get the next book started. Don’t be surprised if the second book is hands-down better than the first, it happens more than you think.

More about Between Good and Evil:
Years after the Willis Asylum closed, the secrets of its past lingered in its decaying halls as a reminder to the good people of Auburn Notch. When Evil closes a door, he opens a window. Sheriff Promise Flynn was new to the town, and she was about to find out some windows should never be opened.
cover artPromise Flynn is an overly impulsive Metro Detective whose disregard for procedure finally resulted in her being shot and left for dead during an investigation. To repair her bruised ego and splintered confidence she abandons the callous dark alleys of Chicago to patrol the quiet, birch-lined streets of Auburn Notch—a favorite vacation spot of her youth. For two years everything was idyllic, until the body of a young girl found in the abandoned asylum outside of town awakens the insecurities she thought her new life would insulate her from.
As the new Sheriff she begins her investigation refusing to accept the similarities between the young woman’s death and her own case, oblivious to being unexpectedly recognized and penciled in at the top of a clever murderer’s To-Do list. Her internal struggle intensifies when a discredited crime reporter from the past suspiciously arrives in town to resurrect his threadbare reputation, along with an FBI agent chasing down a lead in a cold case. Both men quickly become entangled in Flynn’s investigation and her attempts to finally put her past to rest.
Flynn reluctantly accepts the murder of the young girl might be the work of the two men responsible for her hasty departure from Chicago, but Agent MacGregor insists the evidence points to a man he’s been chasing. As the rising current of her past threatens to pull her under, Flynn finds herself unprepared for option three.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01B12YPTC]

Michael Phillips is a classically trained artist turned mystery writer. By combining his creative talents with a passion for mysteries he conceived his first series—The Ernie Bisquets Mysteries. It introduced Ernie Bisquets, a retired London pickpocket who decided he was going to assist the London police with their most difficult cases, whether they want his help or not. Michael has completed three books in the series, and has plans for at least five additional books.

Michael travels a bit, especially to Great Britain, but also has a fondness for New England. He spent many winters in the shadow of the White Mountains, skiing and enjoying the beautiful countryside. Those fond memories are the backdrop now for the new Auburn Notch Mysteries being published by Sunbury Press. The main character is Sheriff Promise Flynn—an ex-metro detective who left a dark past and her big-city detective shield behind and moved to a small New England town. What follows is anything but therapeutic.

When not painting or writing Michael is an avid antique collector, filling his current home — an 1894 Queen Ann Victorian he is restoring with his wife and son — with an assortment of antiques from around the world. Michael also enjoys cooking, working in the garden, and playing in the yard with their two rescues, Beau and Pup.

How to connect with Michael:





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