Meet Anne Shillolo

Are you ready for the holidays to start? Less than a week and we’ll be digging into that turkey…hours of preperation and work, gone in under an hour. But we gladly do it for those we love, especially this year. No matter how many gather around your table it will be filled with love, grace and thanks.

Ann Shillolo

Our timing is perfect to meet Anne. She has a new cozy mystery up for pre-order; to be released on December first. And the cover has me smiling as I wait for the publication. Don’t you agree?

Anne’s books are in Kindle Unlimited, and if you sign up for her newsletter you receive 2 free prequels to her series. Now let’s find out a bit more about our guest author…

Why do did you write a holiday theme mystery?
My series is progressing through the months of the year and the seasons, so I wanted to write a holiday-themed mystery. I plan to continue indefinitely, so maybe other holidays will get a story in the future.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for a long time! I had the typical drawer full of drafts, although I have to say they were electronic file drawers:) A couple of year ago I discovered the world of self-publishing and as I was royally sick and tired of the traditional process I leaped right in. A year ago, I retired and sort of switched careers. Now I write every day and try to get better at marketing. Poodle Versus The Fake Santa is my tenth book in the last year. Yes, I can hardly believe it myself!

What is the significance of the title?
My books are cozy mysteries featuring a 50-something, small-town newspaper publisher and her pampered prince of a poodle, and so I didn’t want to get too dark with the subject matter. There is already some built-in humor in the recurring series titles, and I thought, hey, Fake Santa fits right in with that tone.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Most of the dog humor in the books is true, and inspired by my real-life Rocco.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Because writing involves a lot of sitting, I try to be pretty active every day. I like all the triathlon sports – but I am not an athlete:) I just like walking, slow running, slow swimming, and leisurely bike rides.

I’m looking forward to Anne’s new holiday book, but her other books look great too. Be sure to check out her website to find all her books. I’ll be back with more holiday cozy mysteries next time. Until then, stay safe and healthy and curled up with a good mystery.

Victoria LK Williams

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Meet Polly Holmes

Can you believe how fast the last quarter of 2020 is passing by? Halloween is over, and plans are being made for that big turkey dinner. And then, with a blink of an eye, we are decorating and planning for the Christmas holiday. Our next award winning author writes in a range of holiday mysteries.

Polly’s cozy mysteries can be found in Kindle Unlimited and at Gumnut Press Bookstore. Now lets find out more about Polly…

Why do did you write a holiday theme mystery?
Living in Australia, Halloween is not as celebrated here as much as it is in the US so I love to immerse myself in creating what could be if I lived there. I love all the mystery and intrigue that surrounds the holiday and the chance to dress up. The holiday gives me so much inspiration to create and imagine what could be.

new release!

In my mind, there is always a little bit of magic that surrounds Christmas. You can’t beat a great Christmas story that takes you on a journey into the world of the North Pole and Santa’s workshop. A story filled with fun, love, excitement and a little bit of mischief. I love writing about Christmas in winter, the snow, a warm fire and hot chocolate. Living in Australia our Christmases are always hot and humid so to create a winter world I can dive into, complete with Santa and the Elves is such as joy.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
Writing is my night-time and weekend passion. I am a full-time Drama teacher, but not your normal 9-5 teacher. I am run the Dance and Drama Department at my school, so not only do I have to teach the students, I have loads of admin to do and productions including after school rehearsals. My average day in 7.30am to 6.30pm. As you can imagine, fitting in writing in and around that is pretty hard. Because I self-publish, I also have to try and get promotional time in there which I guess is why I don’t get a lot of sleep.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
If Pumpkin Pies & Potions were made into a movie, apart from probably fainting at the opportunity of having one of my books on the big screen, Emma Stone would play the main character of Evelyn Grayson. At 11, Evelyn’s parents were tragically killed, and she moved in with her Aunt Edie in Saltwater Cove. This is where she finds out she’s a witch and her life is set on a new path of mystery, magic and mayhem. Her world goes haywire and she finds out life as a witch is not as easy as she first thought. Emma Stone is the perfect fit, beautiful, smart and a little on the tough side.
Jason Lewis would play the main character of Tyler Broderick, Evelyn’s best friend. They have been best friends since she moved in with her aunt and while he isn’t a witch, he has mad computer skills which prove useful in solving key clues in various murders.
Emily Blunt would play Aunt Edie. Her vast acting knowledge would bring a maturity to the role without making her too old. She is a hip, young aunt that isn’t afraid to take a risk where needed.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my covers. Whether it be romance or a cozy, I have great cover designers and they provide me with the fuel to create my stories. At the start, I had no real idea what a cozy mystery was until I stumbled across Mariah Sinclair’s covers and brought 13 in one sale and then a writer friend said they were cozies and I had to learn what they were and how to write them.
Having been an obsessed addict of Murder, She Wrote and Nancy Drew it wasn’t hard to put pen to paper. I can see a cover and then a story begins festering in my mind and I have to just go with it. I had the cover of Pumpkin Pies & Potions designed by Victoria Cooper and she took the exact idea out of my head and created it brilliantly. I often run ideas by my sister and niece, they are great to brainstorm ideas with and they can send me on a whole new storyline with just one discussion. Problem is, once we start talking over the one idea, it soon becomes three or four books. As a writer, a great problem to have.

pre-order!

What is your favorite childhood book?
It’s not so much a book as a series. I LOVE (and till do) the Sweet Valle High Series. I still have the majority of them, albeit some warn and tattered. I wasn’t a fast reader, but if I had one of Francine Pascal’s SVH books in my hand you couldn’t get me to do anything until I finished it. I received a number of groundings from my mum because I wouldn’t put my book down. I must have read the series over twenty times. They were my first introduction to teenage romance, and I was hooked. I also loved Nancy Drew, I suppose that’s why I love writing mystery novels. Also, Enid Blyton’s the Wishing Chair. While I write cozies, I also write romantic suspense and contemporary romance under P.L. Harris. I think the love of reading romance has stayed with me since I picked up my first SVH book.

Polly is also part of a great group of writers that have written the Christmas Anthology, Christmas Crackers.

now available!

Polly also writes romantic suspense as P.L. Harris!

So, there it is; we’ve officially started the holiday book season! Grab you comfy slippers, a cup of hot chocolate, a warm blanket and a spot in front of the fire place-there are plenty of holiday cozies coming your way!

Victoria LK Williams