Meet Jane Hinchey

Hello “ducks”. That greeting is something we picked up from our last interview. We’re learning not only about the writers, but the world they live in! I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this next one just as much. So let’s read Jane’s responses to our questions…

Jane Hinchey

Hi, I’m Jane Hinchey, I’m an Aussie author who writes paranormal cozy mysteries, and I’m super excited to be here on your blog today!
All of my cozy mysteries are in Kindle Unlimited, but you will find my older urban fantasy books on other retailers.
You can find all my books here: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Hinchey/e/B0193449MI/, and you can find out more about me, future books, audio, etc. here: https://janehinchey.com/.
You can also find me in Facebook land:
Facebook AuthorPage:https://www.facebook.com/JaneHincheyAuthor/
Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JanesLittleDevils

I have two cozy mystery series, the Witch Way series that features Harper, a witch who had her magic license revoked by the Council. As her world falls apart, she returns to her hometown and lives with her eccentric Gran, buys a bookstore, and immediately sets about solving the murder of her realtor. You can find the Witch Way series here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PDJ6TFV

Then we have my bestselling series, The Ghost Detective, where we follow the adventures of accident-prone Audrey, her talking cat Thor, a ghost, and a very hot sidekick as they solve the mysteries that befall Firefly Bay. You can find the Ghost Detective series here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08818PP47

Have you ever been to the United States, and if so, where?
Sadly, I have not. I’d booked to attend a writer’s conference in Las Vegas in November 2020, but thanks to the pandemic, that was canceled. We’ve reshuffled everything to November 2021, but it all depends on travel restrictions being lifted by then. Australia is pretty strict with border control, but the USA is definitely on my bucket list to visit one day.

What is one expression that is common to your part of the world that might be unusual to us in the US, and what does it mean?
I have sooooo many, lol. We Aussies have a lot of slang that the rest of the world doesn’t understand, so I’ll hit you with a few. The first one isn’t slang, but it can certainly raise eyebrows. Thong. In Australia, it means flips flops. Everywhere else, it means a particular type of underwear!
A couple of others for you: flat out like a lizard drinking. That means we’re very busy.
She’ll be right = everything will be okay.
Yeah, no worries = yes.

Where would you take a US visitor to your country first, and why?
It all depends on what they were into. Australia is a vast country, we may be an island, but we’re a big one. If you like city life, then Sydney and Melbourne are for you. I’d start with Sydney for the harbor bridge and opera house – they are breathtaking… you’ve all seen the pictures but seeing them up close and personal is a whole other experience.
If it’s beaches you’re after, I’d then shoot up to Queensland and the Gold Coast, from there you could explore the rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef. Once you’ve had your tropical hit, I’d go inland to the Northern Territory. Red soil and a whopping great big rock.
I could really go on and on, lol. We have fantastic wineries everywhere, miles of beaches, bushland, desert, again, it all depends on what you’re into as to where to go first.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I like to write first thing in the morning, not super early because I’m actually a night owl. I get up around eight-thirty, and then it’s straight into it. After coffee, of course. I write before anything else, as in no checking emails, no perusing Facebook. Words first, everything else after. I try and write a minimum of 2,000 words per day, sometimes more, sometimes less (when the muse has bunked off and is watching Netflix or being generally unhelpful). But every word is moving the story forward, and that’s a win in my book.

How do you research your books?
Google. Because I write paranormal, I have a lot of lee-way. I can basically make up anything I want. But I do Google a lot of stuff. Because I’m Australian but write in American, I’ll often ask my readers group about things, i.e., in Australia, we use the word torch, but it’s flashlight in the US. Little things like that.

How much ‘world-building’ takes place before you start writing?
Very little. I create fictional locations for my stories, so I’ll start with finding a town similar to what I have pictured in my head (Google maps is perfect for this). Often it’s a combination of two different towns and/or cities, some Australian, some American. I’ll then create a very basic street map with an outline of what businesses are there. Again, I make up the names. I save all of this information in a series bible and add to it as I write. Little things like a side-character may work at an Art Gallery, so I make sure I add that Art Gallery to the list of businesses for that town.
I have several fictional towns/cities now, and I will mention them in other books. For example, I have the SIA (Supernatural Investigation Agency) in one of my urban fantasy series, but I bring them into my cozies. You’ll also hear mention of Redmeadows, a city I created in a different urban fantasy series. All of it sort of grew organically, but when you need a neighboring town or city for your current story, it saves you having to re-create from scratch. My readers enjoy seeing something familiar from another book.

Where do you get your ideas?
I find inspiration everywhere, but mostly tv shows, movies, and music. That doesn’t mean I’m copying the plot. Usually, it’s a particular scene that sparks an idea, a spin-off tangent to what I’m watching. For example, I watched the series Lucifer, and his brother calls him Lucy, which sparked the idea of what if Lucifer was a girl? And I fell down the rabbit hole of that, and my urban fantasy series Hell’s Gate was born. In it, Lucifer is a girl, and she’s not evil. She actually runs Hell (as the CEO). So I take a spark of an idea I’ve picked up from somewhere and put my own twist on it.

I had to share one more picture of Janes’s covers. I fell in love with them the first time I saw them. Covers really make the difference! Now go and grab a book or two from Janes collection, and don’t forget to write and post your review when your finished.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Mona Marple

It’s a new year, and I bet you’re ready for an adventure!

This next series of author interviews is going to be fun, and I’m sure you will learn something extra from each author. We’re traveling across the pond to meet these authors, so grab your passport. Well, virtually anyway. Just a bit of a reminder…some words may look misspelled, but that is probably because of US English vs “proper” English!

I feel blessed to call Mona not only a fellow writer, but also a friend. I have enjoyed reading her cozy and paranormal books and I bet you will too. Her books are available in Kindle Unlimited. Now for the interview…

Have you ever been to the United State and if so where?
I LOVE the USA! I’ve visited around 13 states and would love to return and visit more. I was lucky enough to visit New York for my 21st birthday, which was incredible. And I first developed my love for cacti following a trip to Arizona in 2015!

What is one expression that is common to your part of the world that might be unusual to us in the US and what does it mean?
In my town, a lot of people say ‘duck’ as a familiar greeting. For example, someone might say ‘alright, duck?’

Where would you take a US visitor to your country to first and why?
I’d have to take a US visitor to Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood, and in particular to see the Major Oak tree. I live just a few miles from Sherwood Forest and I walk my pampered Labradoodle, Miss Coco, in there most weeks.

Describe your writing space.
I’m lucky enough to have a writing room, but the window is quite small and high. I’m really obsessed with windows and I love being able to see out, but a traditional desk is too low for me to see out of the window. Imagine my delight when my sweet husband made me a desk that sits right under the windowsill! I had to order a special type of high chair, my desk is so high, and now I can sit and write and see out of the window! Typically, I work on a laptop with my notes next to me, some cacti arranged on the windowsill, and a candle burning. My feet get really cold so I’ll probably be wearing fluffy socks, drinking really strong coffee, and water too (I’m giving up fizzy pop right now). And Miss Coco will probably be curled up near me. That dog has no understanding of personal space boundaries 😉

Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
I find the first book hardest because everything is new. I’m trying to get a feel for the world and the characters as I write, so the first few chapters can be quite slow until I get my head around it all.
Later books in a series have a different difficulty – trying to make sure I’m not repeating plots!

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I have a day job in a law firm and I really enjoy it. I think I’ll always do both.
Although, when I was a child, I really wanted to work in a pizza parlour. I remember going to a local pizza parlour as a child and watching them roll out the dough and add the toppings. It seemed like the coolest job in the world to me!

Now wasn’t that fun? I love learning not only about the author, but where they are from. Can you image living near Sherwood Forest? I’ll be thinking about Robin Hood all evening (lol). Don’t hesitate to contact the authors and let them know what you think. And if you do read one of their books, please don’t forget to review!

Victoria LK Williams

Buy Direct and Save and sign up for my news letter while you’re there

A Special Author

I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas series of author interview! I can’t wait to start the next series; we’ll be going far and wide for this group of author.

But before I start that, I wanted to introduce you to an author who is dear to my heart. He writes non-fiction, in the gardening genre. With two books under his belt, it is easy to see the two sides of this author; serious and funny.

Meet Donald R. Williams

That’s right, Don is my husband, and I’m so proud of him. The above picture is the serious side of the man, but when you read the following exert from his newest book, you’ll discover the funny man I love.

Chapter 19

Wait A Minute… Here’s Another Thought

How do you think the plants feel about all of this? Maybe they have feelings too. After all, the Sensitive Plant’s (yes, it’s a real plant!) leaves curl up when it is touched by somebody that can’t keep their hands to themselves.  Ask yourself; do plants have eyes and ears? They can’t see or hear when you’re coming to chop of their limbs. They tolerate a lot of abuse; moved around, dug up, thrown in your trunk, starved to death, left to go thirsty, leaves falling off as they bake in the hot sun and are generally ignored.

Plants must  be tough; they can’t run away. They can’t hide from your lack of care. They don’t like being talked about behind your back by your neighbors and they hate it when the neighbor’s dog squirts on them.

Do plants have a social life? Think about it. They hang out in groups and show off their blooms when treated right. But treat them wrong? They drop their leaves when ignored and go into shock when cut back too hard. They don’t have a brain, but they communicate in ways we do not understand. You want grief, they will bring it on.

Do you talk to your plants? Do you make them feel better with your empty promises of better care? Maybe you should. You might feel better, and they might bring you more pleasure, or give you so much grief. Plants are like the Venus Fly Trap; they will grab your finger in retribution and not let go.  So, don’t stick your fingers where they don’t belong, treat your plants right, and you will get all get along fine.

With over 45 years in the horticulture industry, Don has more than earned the right to poke a bit of fun at gardening. Yet, even as you read and laugh, you will also learn.

Our next series of author interviews will be from authors who live beyond the United States. England, New Zealand, Germany, and Spain will start us off. I’m so interested to hear from these wonderful authors and hope you will be too.

Happy New Year; here’s to a fantastic 2021!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Christa Nardi

Well, the holiday season is here! It’s already December 2 and the days are just flying by. I think it would be safe to say that most are looking forward to the end of 2020 and the hopes only a new year can bring. But until then, we still have some great authors to meet!

Christa writes cozy mysteries that are all in Kindle Unlimited. You can find all her books there and also in Goodreads, where you should always leave a review for the books you read and enjoy!
You can connect with Christa on Facebook, Twitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest (you have to check out her boards!) And don’t forget to visit her website for even more great information.

How long have you been writing?
Probably since elementary grades? I wrote poetry in high school and college. Dabbled with fantasy right after college and oh, I wish I knew where that floppy disk is! I got started again probably around 2010. Mostly, as an escape from my full-time work.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
Technically, that is the plan. I sort of retired from my full-time career in August 2020, but I am finishing up stuff and helping while they try to hire someone to replace me. So, yes, I would like it to be. That is the plan.

What is the significance of the title?
For Murder at the Theater, the significance is the setting for the murder and how Sheridan Hendley, the amateur sleuth gets involved. The “theater” is a community theater planning to showcase A Christmas Carol directed by a Scrooge type and starring a student at the college where Sheridan is a faculty member. He’s also the nephew of a good friend and the prime suspect, arrested almost immediately. A Cold Creek Cozy Mystery.

              For Holly and Holidays, Another Murder, the murder takes place at a holiday gala to benefit a local dog shelter. The killer tried to cover up the murder by adding enough of the poison in holly to make lots of people sick. The killer’s plan was that the holly would be blamed for the death as well. A Sheridan Hendley cozy mystery novella.

              For Holidays, Hijinks & Murder, the key is the “hijinks.” What is going on that gets an elf shot and then Santa killed at the mall? Stacie Maroni is the amateur sleuth here and feeling very “bah humbug.” Her friends efforts to get her in the holiday spirit for the best Christmas ever fall flat, but now she has a murder to keep her occupied. A Stacie Maroni mystery novella.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities who would star in it?
Male roles would go to the likes of George Clooney, Christian Bale, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo — so that would be Brett McMann (Cold Creek and Sheridan Hendley series), Marty (Cold Creek and Sheridan Hendley series), James Fabry (Sheridan Hendley series), and Detective O’Hare (Stacie Maroni series). I go back and forth on which one should play which character.

Female roles would go to Jennifer Garner or maybe Sandra Bullock (Sheridan), Amy Adams or Julianne Moore (Sheridan’s best friend, Kim), Daniela Ruah or Rachel Bilson (Stacie Maroni). Minka Kelly or Michelle Borth might be options for Sheridan or Stacie as well.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
Forever Saved: Forever Bluegrass #14 by Kathleen Brooks (romantic suspense for a change – that’s the latest and I’ve read the whole series and the one before it)

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Travel, walk, read, bake.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A puppy. Playful, full of spirit, energetic, and cuddly.

I just love these covers, don’t you? What are you reading? Christmas? I hope you are exploring the works of my featured authors, like Christa Nardi.

To help you get in the holiday mood, I’ve put my box set of Christmas cozies on sale through December the 25th. This set has four books, each from a different series, all with a Christmas theme. Regular $7.99–grab your copy while it’s on sale for $.99!!! Christmas Cozy Collection is available at all the major book outlets and you can even order it from your library.

Cozy Christmas Collection; Grab your copy for just .99

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

Meet P.D. Workman

Every once in a while you are lucky to meet someone who gladly gives all she can to her fellow writers. Pam is one of those authors. (To be fair, the writing community as a whole is very giving and more than willing to help you when they can!) I’m honored to call this fun, talented writer a friend.

Pam has over 60 published books, mystery/suspense and young adult. The easiest way to find her books is to go to her website. There you will find her books, blog, upcoming events and releases and now she’s even doing a wonderful podcast. And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter while you are there.

How long have you been writing?
I have little stapled construction paper books that I scribbled stories in before I could read or write. I wrote a short book about an anthropomorphic rabbit when I was ten, and took several runs at writing a novel over the next few years, completing my first novel when I was twelve. I have been writing ever since, but did not start publishing until 2013. I have over 60 titles out now.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
My stories are frequently inspired by news stories or people’s personal stories, as well as music, dreams, and random imaginings. My brain is always going. Before George Floyd’s death, I was concerned with deaths in police custody and what I was reading in articles such as this.
Throughout the Auntie Clem’s Bakery series, the main character Erin Price was frequently a suspect in murders around Bald Eagle Falls. In other cases, her family or friends were suspected (think Jessica Fletcher’s nephews…) It was time to turn the tables and throw suspicion on the police themselves (and Erin’s sweetheart, Officer Handsome in particular.)

What book is currently on your bedside table?
Skeletons in my Closet by Calgary Homicide Detective Dave Sweet.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Hard to tell without spoilers. There are some high-tension scenes near the end of the book, culminating in the discovery of two injured victims. I think that discovery scene was probably the most interesting to write.
There is always some comic relief as well, which sometimes comes as a complete surprise to me.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
I am getting closer. It is my last year as a salaried employee. I expect to continue next year with fewer hours and an hourly wage rather than monthly salary. I am working hard at boosting my writing revenue so that I can live off of my books. It has taken me a number of years to get here, working a lot of hours at my writing business on top of working a full-time office job.

one of several Christmas books!

What is the significance of the title?
In this paranormal cozy mystery series, Reg Rawlins has recently gone through a short jaunt through the past, and yes, you guessed it, she made a few changes while she was back there. In the new present, her mother did not die when she was a child, and in Delusions of the Past, her long-estranged mother comes back into her life. Reg and her mother each remember the past very differently.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Running and walking, reading, playing with the cat, designing covers… there should probably be some stuff in there about people, too. Despite being a hermit, I do enjoy spending time with my family too.

Why did you write a holiday theme mystery?
I wanted something to promote during the holidays. I wanted books that could distract people from seasonal stresses and help people to relax and enjoy the holidays.

A big thank you to Pam for taking time from her busy schedule to visit with us and answer our questions. Be sure to stop by her website and explore!

Victoria LK Williams

Don’t forget, many authors, including myself, publish “wide”. This means our books might be available in the library. Ask your local librarian for information on how to request a book from my list or any of the other authors I have introduced you to.

Meet Regina Clarke

Are you getting ready for Halloween? Candy bought (and round one eaten!), decorations up, costumes selected? Yep, it’s getting closer. And to keep in the “spirit”, here is another author with a Halloween treat for us.

Regina Clarke

You might know Regina from her Ria Quinn Mystery series. Her books can be found all all the major book outlets; Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble , Apple or through Books2Read. And don’t forget, you can connect with her on her Facebook page, too.

Messenger Out of Time

Why do did you write a holiday theme mystery?
Halloween has always been a most favorite holiday—wonderful memories from childhood and with my own son growing up, moonlight, scary things, the candy corn, the haunted houses—it’s just always made me feel delight. And I thought Ria, my MC, would enjoy a plot that had a haunted, abandoned hospital and an ancient peat bog to explore on Halloween.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
That’s a great question. I can see I’d have Emily Blunt as Ria, Cary Elwes as Gareth, David Leon as Kyle, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Deidre… in my dreams, anyway…

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I actually reveal it in the first Ria Quinn mystery, Hidden In Stone—her passion for Old English. It is my own…

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

The Wolf

What is your favorite childhood book?
Two, really—a beautiful book of fairy tales and Nancy Drew’s The Clue of the Broken Locket that I first read when I was 9.

Well, that’s it for this post. I hear the candy wrapper rustling, so I’d better go run interference, or I’ll be buying more before the trick or treaters arrive!
Victoria LK Williams

Meet Morgan Best

I’m so pleased to introduce you to another writer who has a fondness for holiday writing…

Morgan Best writes several series (The Kitchen Witch, Witches and Wine, Australian Amateur Sleuth, Sea Witch Cozy Mysteries Witch Woods Funeral Home, His Ghoul Friday, Cocoa Narel Chocolate Shop Mysteries and the Prime Time Crime series) all in the cozy genre and her books can be found on all the major outlets. Her books are also available in print, large print and audio. Wow, I’m exhausted just naming her series, let alone all the fantastic books (43)!

Morgan Best

It’s obvious Morgan is a busy woman, so let’s get right into her interview!

Available at; Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google Play

 Why did you write a holiday theme mystery? 
I write a Halloween story every year for The Kitchen Witch series. Amelia’s ancestor promised that her descendants would do a Halloween spell for another woman’s ancestors, so the lucky woman is Jasmine. Every year, Jasmine comes to Amelia’s small Aussie town, and Amelia is honor-bound to do a spell for her. Something always goes wrong with hilarious results. This year, Jasmine asks her to do a truth spell.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be? 
I started writing years ago. Random House solicited a book of mine, but a comedy of errors followed. In 2003, I paid out my literary agent and decided to go Indie. Back then, it was only print. I’ve been a full-time author since late 2010.

What is your favorite childhood book? 
Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree.
When I was a kid, I also loved reading books about animals, but most animals came to a horrible end. I have no idea why authors thought children would want to read about animals being harmed. I think that’s why I write cozy mysteries, where animals are perfectly safe and only people are harmed. 😉

What do you do when you are not writing? 
I pretty much write every waking minute, but when I’m not writing, I go to football (AFL- Aussie football) games (or watch them on TV), read, do something with the garden, take the dogs for walks, and run or ride the bike.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 
Amelia Spelled is a terrible baker. I based her cooking abilities on mine, so I enjoy writing about her baking disasters. In an earlier book, Amelia is making a no-bake cake. She has to soak cookies in sherry overnight. She doesn’t have sherry, so she soaks the cookies in Scotch whisky instead. All the guests get drunk.
This actually happened to me. I had a dinner party for my work colleagues back in the day. I didn’t have any sherry, but I found an old bottle of Scotch whisky in a cupboard—my ex-husband had left it there. I served everyone the no-bake cake filled with Scotch whisky-soaked cookies. Everyone ended up extremely drunk, and the next morning I had the most terrible hangover.

Here are 2 more books by Morgan, be sure to visit her website and signup for her newsletter to keep up with the next book.

Halloween decorations are going up and the nights are getting cooler. Now is the perfect time to download a holiday tale, curl up with a cup of hot cider and get in a Halloween mood.

Meet Kathy Manos Penn

In my last post, I presented a number of books with a Halloween Theme and next month I will do the same for books with a Christmas Theme. I hope you’ve had the opportunity to down load a couple and start reading. But now I want you to get the know the authors behind the stories. A few of these wonderfully talented wordsmiths have written books for both holidays! Are you ready to meet our first author?

Kathy Manos Penn with Banjo

Kathy is a long-time columnist and award-winning author. Her books are in the KU (kindle unlimited) program. You can find all her books on her Amazon Author Page, connect with her on her Facebook Author Page and find out even more from her Website!

I asked each of our authors to select questions from a list to answer (you’ll find out more below) and ask all to answer this…

Why did you write a holiday theme mystery?
The Halloween book simply grew out of the fact that book one was set in September and had ended with a costume party at my main character’s cottage. That was so much fun, I wanted to continue the costume theme with the characters dressing in costume for a Fall Fete in their Cotswolds village.
I LOVE Christmas, and like my main character, I decorate our home to the hilt! Given that Leta has been a widow for 18 mos, her emotional growth and how she deals with the holidays seemed a natural next step.

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How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing cozies only since late 2019 and released Book One in my series in February 2020. For almost my entire corporate career, I was called upon to write. Funny that my fellow bankers, whom I thought brilliant at analysis and numbers, seemed to think the same about my ability to craft a complete sentence, a speech, a how-to guide, or a training course. Long before my official job was communications, I was the go-to person for writing.
As a side job, while still a banker, I began writing weekly columns for a local paper and enjoyed it so much, I also started writing a blog. When I retired, I published a book of my columns, and then my dog Banjo got in on the act. He got all fired up when I had his DNA done and we discovered he’s part Great Pyrenees.  Did you know that Louis XIV declared those majestic animals the Royal Dogs of France? Once Banjo heard that news, he demanded I take dictation and produce a small book in his voice about a year in his life.  He says Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch is NOT fiction, but we have a difficult time convincing readers of that.
It was only after I’d appeased the boy that I could think about what I might want to write.

What is the significance of the title?
Since Dickens & Christie, the dog and cat in my books, are important characters, I find myself wanting to include a pet-oriented word in each title.  Hence, the first book was Bells, Tails & Murder and this Halloween themed book is Pumpkins, Paws & Murder with a fall fête central to the plot.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper. A friend recommended I read it because a cat tells the story. She wasn’t quite sure she was going to enjoy reading my books where Dickens & Christie converse with their pet parent, but after one book, she was hooked. She went in search of other books where the animals talk or at least write and found Love Saves the Day!
And on my Kindle, next up is The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas. I’m an Anglophile through and through, so you can almost always find me reading a book set in England. This one is set just before WWII.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
As an avid reader, I love writing the book club scenes included in each of my books.  The chosen book is always in some way connected to the plot and is always a book I’ve read. I enjoy mentioning books throughout my stories, though I must admit I haven’t read every single book I mention—most of them, but not all. Leta, my main character, was an English major and briefly an English teacher before moving on to corporate America, and her best friend Wendy taught high school English for thirty years. It’s only natural that they talk books.  And guess what, I too briefly taught English, and I’m forever talking books with my friends.

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Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
My friends would tell you it is, that writing has become my full-time second career and that I never really retired. I call it my passion. I find myself going into withdrawal when I don’t write every day.  Fortunately, I continue to write weekly newspaper columns, so when I’m not deep into writing the next book, I can get my fix with a column.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read!  I must read every night and now that I’m retired I stay up way too late doing that.  When I worked, I made myself turn out the bedside light by ten. Much as I say about Leta in my books, I turn into a pumpkin by that time. And so you know I’m not a complete couch potato, I work out several times a week and walk with my sister too. Times were I rode bicycles with my husband, but his health has taken that activity off the table, and I don’t much enjoy cycling by myself. You’ll notice in my books that Leta rides a bicycle.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I followed the adage to write what you know, so my pets are the inspiration for the personalities of Dickens & Christie. Banjo and Puddin’ hang out with me in my office—Banjo snoozes at my feet and Puddin’ is either demanding treats by leaping on the desk or she’s snoozing in my desk drawer. As does Dickens, Banjo loves belly rubs and is always scarfing his feline sister’s wet food. Puddin’? She’s a demanding little thing who rules the roost and thinks she “owns” both me and my husband.
Leta, my main character, is a transplanted Atlantan and is Greek. I only wish I were a transplanted Atlantan!  I doubt I’d ever have the gumption to leave friends and family behind and move to England, but I AM Greek. Leta is known among her new British friends for her Greek salad, as I am here among my Atlanta friends. You can find her salad recipe in Book One and two additional Greek recipes in Books Two and Three.
Beyond that, my bucket list trip to England in 2018 inspired the Cotswolds village setting and much of the literary plot for the first book in the series. In book two, the ladies take a trip to Dartmouth and Agatha Christie’s summer home because I’d visited both. One thing leads to another as I research ideas on the internet, and things move along from there.
Because I took yoga for years, there’s a yoga studio in Astonbury and Leta takes a class several times a week. I’ve long had it in the back of my mind to include a yoga retreat in one of my books. I only need to figure out who gets murdered and why! This idea could show up in book five. You never know.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our first “Holiday Author”! I know I have. And I’m now in the mood to start reading holiday books.

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Don’t forget, you can get my books at a discount when you buy direct from my website. And to help you start start preparing for the holidays, check out the cute designs below!

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