Meet Amy Vansant

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

This is the perfect weekend to catch up with your reading, and Amy Vansant will fit the bill nicely. Amy writes Urban Fantasy and Romatic Comedy and of course, Mysteries. I’ve read her Pineapple Port Mysteries and thought they were wonderful and comic. You can find all of her books on Amazon Kindle.

  1. Where is your favorite vacation spot? Beach, Resort or Poolside?
    My house since I moved to Florida! I’m a walk to the beach and have a pool so I have all the bases covered now. 😊

Everyone takes a tote back with them when they head out for a day at the beach, what is in yours?
I walk on the beach but I don’t sit for long. I like to people and dog watch… but I guess a water and something to read in case I get bored.

  1. What makes your books perfect for a beach read? The setting, the story or the characters?
    Both my Pineapple Port Mysteries and Shee McQueen Mystery-Thrillers take place in Florida near the beach!

What inspired you to start writing?
I just always did, even when I was very little.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting?
Keep writing! The only way you’ll ever make money is to keep writing more books… I got distracted making a living for a decade and stopped during that time. I could kick myself for it.

What time of the day do you usually write?
I get up early, so usually 4am to 6am unless I get distracted by work… which happens a lot…

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written a little over twenty… Generally the latest is my favorite because you get a little better at what you do every time you do it!

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
I cleverly hid where I live, Jupiter, FL, as “Jupiter Beach FL” in the Shee McQueen novels. The location of the Loggerhead Inn, where my characters live, is my house (except it is on the Intracoastal Waterway and I’m not – need to sell a lot more books for that house!)

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer!

Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Is that even a question? SUMMER!!

Tea or coffee
Both, but if I had to choose one forever, coffee.

Morning person or Night owl
MORNING. I don’t function at night at all. When the sun goes down, I start to fall asleep… and I love how quiet mornings are.

Do  you base your characters real people?
Often. If you’re a neighbor, be careful…

What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Probably things I don’t even realize I’m getting wrong. LOL

How do you select the names of your characters?
I go to baby name websites or I run a contest to have my readers pick a name. For some reason if left to my own choices I fall back to the same six names or so. I have no imagination for names apparently.

Amy is also a fellow Sister in Crime, and we belong to the same chapter. I can assure you she is just as funny in person!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Jane Elzey

Jane Elzey writes modern day cozy mysteries about four best friends and amateur sleuths who love to play games… while the husbands die trying. (A husband always dies.) A Cardboard Cottage Mystery series centers around board games, friendship, and fast-paced misadventure!

The books are available in ebook on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, as well as Paperback and Hardcover at all your favorite book shops. Autographed copies with swag and brag are available on the author’s website

Where is my favorite vacation spot?
Born and raised a wild-child on Florida’s sandy beaches (including Vero Beach!) my favorite vacation spot always includes a big body of water, preferably when the moon is full. I’m an avid traveler, so I like to hit the beach anywhere around the world. My favorite place to bodysurf is the National Seashore in Titusville, Florida. My favorite beach to go shelling is Sanibel Island. Did you know there is only there is only one global ocean? We are all one!

What’s in my tote bag?
My favorite Turkish towel, Blue Lizard sunscreen, a good read, a thermos of something delicious — probably with rum and mint, and a big bag of seaside nibbles. I like to stop at the specialty markets along the way to pick up local favorites. Poke and papaya on Oahu, ceviche and chips in Mazatlán, olives and crusty bread in Spain.

What makes your books perfect for a beach read?
Because that’s what my readers tell me! The characters in the Cardboard Cottage Mystery series are four friends you’d love to hang out with – especially when they get into good trouble. They are the perfect friends to take with you to the beach – they will serve up a good picnic, lots of laughs, and some fast-paced, page-turning adventure, too.

What inspired me to start writing?
I am career journalist, but along the way I discovered my true calling. I am a mischief-maker, story-teller, and bender of the facts. I would rather write a story without much regard for the truth. I’ve wanted to write mysteries my entire life and now I’m finally following that dream come true.

What’s my most interesting writing quirk?
I am fan of out-of-the-box thinking and thrill in leading the reader on an adventure with lots twists, turns, and surprises. I love it when a reader says, “I didn’t see that coming!” Even though I write under the cozy genre and its rules, my characters are not-so-cozy, not cookie-cutter sweet, and always up for an adventure. Because I like to travel, I set my stories in destinations that I love, and share those bucket list travels with readers.

When writing a series, how do I keep things fresh for both my readers and myself?
My VIP Club members are keeping me on my toes! Members of the Killer Club are given the honor of naming a husband for me to off in an upcoming series. I currently have more husbands to kill than plots! I am only in two deep – book one and book two – now working on book three. I bore easily, so keeping myself entertained is sure to keep the reader happy. And that’s my goal. Imagination is a wonderful thing, and as long I continue to live an adventurous life surrounded by interesting people (including my VIP Killers) I can’t imagine that this well of creativity will run dry. My characters are willing to evolve, too, and with their help I have plotted out where they go for the next several books. And of course, their friendship deepens along the way!

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written?
Killer Croquet, Passing on Poker, Murder by Mahjong, and Ouija with Haints, are all in the plotting stages. I’m currently writing on Poison Parcheesi and Wine, book 3 in the Cardboard Cottage Mystery series. This story takes place in Arkansas’ wine country, along with Gennas’ big “European Tour” of Arkansas.  And, well, another husband dies trying and Amy almost takes the rap for murder!

If I could invite three people to my dinner party they would be…
Fanny Flag, Lee Smith, and Carl Hiaasen, my favorite Southern writers. We would be telling stories and laughing so hard we would never be able to eat our dinner!

I was so thrilled to find Jane is not only a fellow floridian, but that she actually lived at one time in Vero Beach. Oh the stories we could compare! I love board games, and found this such a unique premise for a cozy mystery series. I can’t wait to grab one of Jane’s books and head to the beach.

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 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 Rachel Rivers

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I’m watching the birds and squirrels from my window trying to outsmart each other in their attempts to get to the peanuts I put out on the table for them. So far, the Blue Jays are winning. I’m excited for you to meet our next author, so let’s get right to it!

Rachel Rivers Meet Rachel Rivers…

Rachel writes light-hearted cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. Her books are on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited. You can find out all about her series, Hex Falls Paranormal Cozy Mysteries on her Amazon Author Page.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life, friends, family, my father.

Plotter or Pantser?
Plotter for sure.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write what you love… but make sure it has an audience if you expect to make any money. If you don’t care about money…write what you love and be happy.

How long have you been writing?
Seriously, for about 12 years. But I’ve actually been writing since I was eight, hoping to get serious.

How do you handle writer’s block?
People are going to hate this, but I don’t get writer’s block. I always have ideas. I’m always able to write. Living long enough to write all of my ideas is my biggest concern.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
A lot of brainstorming! LOL And help from my nineteen-year-old.

Describe a typical writing day.
I’m up at 6:15, let the dogs out, shower, typically make tea, and sit down at my desk by no later than 6:45. I then write non-stop until about 11:30, when I usually break to eat, talk to a writing friend, then head back into my second session of writing from around 1:00 to 3:30ish pm. Then it’s dinner and marketing, marketing, marketing from 7:00 to 9:30 pm as I watch TV, and that’s it! Writing-wise. Phew! Enough, right?

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
Full-time. As you can tell by my schedule above.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
My favorite part is hearing from fans. People who have enjoyed or being moved, in some positive way, by my stories. That’s what makes me happiest. My least favorite part is composing Chapter Ones. Chapter One is always the hardest for me to get right. It always feels like it’s being dragged out of me.

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51twjIANYPLBedknobs & Broom Hilda Sticks

rachel rivers2   Be sure to visit Rachel’s website!

 

Have you ever heard of a Brozy Mystery? Be sure to watch for my next post, and you can find out all about them!

Victoria LK Williams

Want to connect?  Click on this link to find your favorite social site…
https://linktr.ee/VictoriaLKWilliams

Meet LeAnna Shields

As I write this post, I can look out my window and see the clouds racing by, getting darker with each hour. We are under a hurricane warning and the storm is supposed to skim the Florida coastline. It’s not a powerful storm, but only the first of the season for us. A foretaste of the rest of the season. If you are also in the storm’s path, I wish you safety.

713P-ym5n2L._US230_Meet LeAnna…

LeAnna writes Fantasy or genres and is now beginning to write Cosy Mysteries.  You can find her books on Amazon, in the Kindle Unlimited program. Check out her Amazon Author Page. 

106168126_282987426382532_5712767051706947355_nThe Art of the Facts

83426156_589746001947698_960977683472909502_nSparx of Suspicion 

 

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for 10+ years. Well, that’s how long I’ve been published, I think I’ve been writing for 20+ years. I started writing in Highschool during my homeschool free time. I started with Star Wars Fan Fiction, but when a friend of mine saw my writing her critique pushed me to create my own characters. That eventually lead to my current mystery books. One is called the Art of Facts and the other is called Sparx of Suspicion. The Art of Facts is a 1920’s steampunk-themed cozy that features an African American Archaeology Professor. Sparx is a contemporary mythic themed cozy that features a Native American elf named Sabiya Feathercroft.

How do you handle writer’s block?
Sometimes music helps. When I was writing my Mystic Ranch Mysteries, I was struggling to get a feel for Sabiya’s (my MC) personality until I came across a song featuring Lindsey Sterling called Something Wild. Really, it’s one that focuses more on Sabiya’s love interest Bridger Kane, but through his eyes, I was able to get a lens on Sabiya. With Art of Facts, I had a playlist of techno swing music. Bands like Caravan Palace.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Sparx of Suspicion came to me because Sabiya’s best friend in the book runs a coffee shop called Sparx. The Art of Facts came to me from the fact that the MC Maxine deals with out of place artifacts in the book.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Oh, that’s tough, Sabiya would have to be played by a Native American Actress. Bridger… well, Josh Gates could probably do it.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
For Mystic Ranch, I draw my inspiration from mythology and folklore. Sabiya is a Canoti (Sioux elf), Bridger is a male Sprite, Lexiana (Sabiya’s best friend) is a centaur, and so is Cyrus (who raised Sabiya like his own daughter after hers died when she was thirteen). My world is full of mythics just leading ordinary lives. That is, until murder strikes. A lot of the inspiration for The Art of Facts came from watching old movies.

LeAnna’s Closing Comments
As you can see, I write a little of everything, but I love the mystery genre right now. And My closing words for you are don’t limit your creativity by what might or might not sell. If you can write it somewhere out there is someone who will read it and love it. You might be the starting point for a future writer. Have a great day, stay safe, and as I say on my podcast Keep Cozy.

I have to add how much I love LeAnna’s covers! I look forward to reading her books.

Victoria LK Williams

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Meet Angela K. Ryan

The fireworks are over, graduations (such as they were this year) complete, and vacations have started. In other words, we are in full gear summer mode. My husband and I are doing “staycations” this year; lounging by the pool with the cats. What about you? Are you sticking close to home in light of the pandemic or branching out from the nest? One benefit of a slower-paced summer is plenty of time for reading. I have read several books by Angela K. Ryan and love them. And I think you will too. Now onto the interview.

92948265_3075097849188692_7494302844405678080_n Meet Angela K. Ryan…

Angela K. Ryan is a Cozy Mystery author, and you can find her books on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. She writes the Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Series.

 When did you start writing?
I have loved to write for as long as I can remember.  In college, I majored in Print Journalism and worked briefly in that field as a freelancer, but soon decided to go in another direction. I got my Master’s in Ministry and have worked in college campus ministry ever since. However, several years ago, I realized how much I missed writing. I published some religious fiction under another name, and plan to write more in that genre, but I also wanted to try something lighter. Cozy Mysteries were the natural choice. I have always enjoyed reading them – my Kindle is filled with cozies – and I discovered that I LOVE writing them as well. Strong female sleuths, often in the midst of a life transition, who live in a close-knit community with an interesting puzzle to solve. What more could you ask for?

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I try to make each one of my cozies fun, clean escapes with characters that uplift and inspire. As a reader, I frequently turn to cozy mysteries at the end of a long day to relax and escape from the pressures of work and life, or when I am dealing with something particularly challenging that I need to put aside for a while. You could say that cozies are my drug of choice! Similarly, I hope that when people read one of my books, they feel as though they’ve been taken on an enjoyable adventure away from their own stresses and challenges.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I wish my process were faster. I start out with a rough outline, usually creating all the suspects, some of their secrets, motives, etc. I also jot down ideas for plot twists and turning points, but many of them come to me as I’m writing. Then I briefly outline any subplots. After I’ve gone as far as I can with the outline, I write the first draft. If I can devote 3-4 hours a day to writing, I can write the first draft in about ten days, but it is still VERY rough. That first draft sucks the life out of me!
Then I start the editing process. This is where the writing process becomes fun for me again! I polish it up, add in more suspense, twists, and turns. This takes about two weeks. Then I do another two read-throughs, which go much more quickly. I enjoy plotting and the last few drafts the most.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Several elements in my stories are taken from real life. My main character, Connie Petretta, has a background in humanitarian work, having she spent time after college volunteering in Kenya. This is based on personal experience. For a number of years, a friend and I had a small non-profit organization and raised funds for impoverished communities in Rwanda and India. I had the opportunity to visit Rwanda twice, which is what inspired the idea of having an m.c. with connections in Africa. I chose Kenya because at the time my main character would have been doing her post-graduate service, many programs had suspended volunteering in Rwanda because of the genocide. So, since one of my best friends is from Kenya, that is the country I chose for Connie.
Also, the last names of my main characters – Petretta and Belmonte – are taken from my family tree.
My mom lives in southwest Florida and my Sapphire Beach Series takes place in a fictitious town in southwest Florida. I love spending time there and I enjoy bringing it to life in my books.
And finally, there are some funny stories in my books, especially in Books One and Three, that are based on true stories. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the funny stories are connected with Gertrude, a loveable octogenarian. You’ll have to read the books to find out more!

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A final word from Angela…
It’s always a treat to hear from readers and to chat with other authors! I’d love for you to introduce yourself by emailing me at angela@angelakryan.com

Be sure to visit Angela’s Amazon Author Page to find all her books!

Link to stay in touch via weekly updates: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c6q6e7

In August, I will continue the author interviews, but with a bit of a twist. No, I’m not giving out any clues, but boy, you will enjoy this next series! (hint-hint; there’s two clues in that sentence, ha-ha!). While you’re working out my puzzle, I’m off to continue the next book in the Beach House Mystery Series. Don’t forget, Mist By The Lighthouse, book 3, is now up for preorder.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet J.L. Collins

Yep, it’s summer! And even if you are only taking a “stay-cation”, then the time is now to pick your summer reading list. I hope you are finding some great new authors and are adding their books to your list! I know I am. And there are so many more to come. But first, let’s meet our next storyteller.

jerri collins 1    Meet J.L. Collins

J. L. writes cozies – Paranormal cozies at the moment, but will branch off into historical cozies later this year! 1920’s New York City, to be exact. Her books are part of the Amazon KU program, and you can browse her Amazon Author page to find all her books.

“Writing good, true-to-themselves characters that are relatable and worthy of fighting for has always been my number one favorite parts of writing stories. I’d like to think that all of my books incorporate this, as well as plenty of humor and quirky situations. And a little magic doesn’t hurt, either!”

jerri 3
(First in my series, Witch Hazel Lane Mysteries – Grits In The Graveyard – only 99c)

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I used to work at a funeral home and cemetery for a few years. I’ve always been incredibly fascinated by the paranormal and supernatural, but one thing I came to learn in my days there was there is no more peaceful place than a cemetery. It creeps a lot of people out, sure, but that has a lot to do with our fear of death.
When you’re around it all day long, you learn there’s nothing creepy about it. Funeral directors are some of the coolest and kindest people around. You kind of have to be to handle so much grief and sorrow every day. You have to be able to be sympathetic but also know how to distance yourself enough to stay sane.
My favorite part of working there was working with the families on their memorials for their loved ones. I created the designs for them with their help, and it was nice being able to bring them some sort of comfort.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
I always have at least one non-fiction book on my kindle and one paperback waiting for me, not to mention a fiction book! At the moment I have ‘Refuse To Choose’ by Barbara Sher, ‘When’ by Daniel Pink, and ‘Lair of Dreams’ by Libba Bray.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
I have a whole crew of celebrity inspiration for my Witch Hazel Lane mysteries! My main character and her best friends would be played by Jessica Lange, Dolly Parton, a mid-1980’s Betty White, Cicely Tyson, and Pam Grier.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
Yes! I’m currently working on two different paranormal cozy series set in different worlds. One is perfect for those fans of the new genre of paranormal women’s fiction, as the main character is older and so is her tight-knit group of best friends. The other centers around a woman in her mid-30s who just landed herself trapped in a magical town that’s been cursed with eternal winter and no way in or out.
But what I’m very excited about is my new historical mystery series coming the end of this summer! They’re set in NYC in the 1920’s, in one of the most exciting and intriguing times in the city’s history. I’m a huge history nerd and the research has been so fascinating. I’m obsessed with everything – can the ‘20s lingo please make a comeback?

Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
(An excerpt from ‘A Cold Case In Spell’-)
“What the…?” I fumbled to spin around but what I didn’t expect was a guy to be standing there. Especially the same guy that had just popped around the corner of the pillar half a second ago.
“Get off me!” I backed up the steps as fast as I could given the slipperiness of them. But he just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. Which funny enough, had a jaw that could cut glass. I only noticed this second, as the first thing I saw was the stupid cloak he was wearing.
And in true Indie fashion, I blurted out, “Are you a LARPer or something?” I mean, who else would wear what could only be described as a traveling cloak in sub-zero temperatures?
His lip curled. “Should I pretend to know what that is?”
“A LARPer? You know, a live-action role player? Ring any bells?” I shot back. I looked the rest of him up and down, assessing every detail just like Grandaddy taught me should the need arise to kick a guy where the sun don’t shine.
A shock of hair like dark chocolate. Which reminded me that I still need snacks in my camper.
Puzzling colored-eyes. Not quite as gold as Goldie’s, but not quite hazel. Hm. Thick lashes because that’s how unfair the universe is.
I wouldn’t call him buff but fit in a more lean kind of way. He could climb a tree and then balance on a broken limb like Mr. Miyagi. So potentially still a LARPer.
He was taller than me by a few inches, maybe 5’10. A pretty nice height, not that it mattered.
The cloak thing though, I wasn’t sure about. Did I just get thrown into an alternate universe with a guy straight off of a jaunt in medieval times?
Then there was the amused expression on his face that told me perhaps I’d been looking a little too closely.
“Do I need to ask who you are, or are you willingly going to tell me?” His voice, which surprisingly had an almost British accent to it, caught me off guard.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. I’m just trying to leave. And if you aren’t a murdery psychopath, maybe you could just tell me where to go and I’ll be out of your way.” I reached for the crowbar that had slipped from my hands. “Please don’t be a murdery psychopath.”
Goldie picked that exact moment to let out a squawk of laughter. “Oh, I like you.”
The guy stepped out of my way, gesturing for me to pass. “By all means, don’t let me stop you. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your futile attempts to leave town.”
I raised a brow. “See, that right there sounds murdery. And threatening. You don’t just tell someone that and expect them to trust you.” My cheeks stung as the wind whipped around us.
“I don’t need you to trust me,” cute but weird guy said, eyeing me suspiciously. “I need you to tell me who you are and how you managed to break into Charming Springs. We haven’t exactly seen any new faces here lately.”
This time I laughed, which felt a little delirious to be honest. Maybe I was going a little crazy after all. “Break in? What is this, a bank heist? Look… LARPer guy, my camper is over there,” I said, pointing in the right direction, “And it’s been fun but I’d like to leave. Now. If you can help me, great. But if not, please get the h-heck out of th-the way.” When had my teeth started chattering?

jerri 2
(First in my newest series, Ice Witch Mysteries– A Cold Case In Spell – only 99c)

So, now that you’ve gotten a taste of J. L.’s writing you need to connect with her. Sign up for her Newsletter and friend her on Facebook for more. 
For our next post, I will share some recent releases that you may not know about!  Until next time, grab a book, an icy drink, and find a shady spot to relax!

A peek inside my new book…

bookbrushimage (16)

 

Only a few more days until book 2 in my new series, A Beach House Mystery, launches. I so excited about this series, and  I got caught up in Mist Across The Waves. This is a series of 6 books that includes murder, magic, mermaid legends and the wrath of a sea witch. But it’s also about a group of characters that I really love to write about.  So, as promised, here is a small snippet of the story…

3D ereader Beach House Mystery 2

Capt. Rose turned the ferry back in the direction they had come, ready to head back to the dock. They had gotten about halfway to their destination when she slowed the boat down to a full stop. Most of the guests didn’t pay any attention, but Jenny, Morgan, and Gabe immediately felt the sensation of the boat coming to a halt. The hair rose on the back of Morgan’s neck, and she remembered her unease of being out on the ocean. Quietly moving to the captain’s wheelhouse, the three went to find out what was going on.

When they entered the captain’s room, she answered their unspoken question pointing out to the starboard side of the ferry. “There’s a ship out there. There are no running lights on it, and the engine isn’t operating. There’s been no distress signal, but I have a bad feeling.”

Sure enough, there was a good-sized private boat floating in the waves near them.

“I’m sorry to spoil your party, Jenny, but I need to make sure that ship isn’t in distress,” Capt. Rose explained.

“You’re right, Captain Rose. What can we do?” Jenny immediately jumped into action, her training taking over. Gone was the birthday girl, and back was the cop.

“I’m going to try and pull up alongside the boat. Do you think you and Gabe here could board her and see what’s going on?”

Gabe and Jenny quickly agreed, and Capt. Rose went about getting the ferry as close as she could to the boat. She was an excellent captain, and there was less than a foot between the two vessels when it was time for Gabe and Jenny to board.

“I’ll go first and throw over the ropes. You tether the boat to the ferry and then come over with me,” Gabe instructed Jenny.

She quickly agreed, and in a matter of minutes, Gabe was on the disabled vessel and Jenny was tying off the ropes. By now, the other party-goers were aware something was going on, and they were lining the rails to watch. Jenny ordered her party guests to stay back and jumped over to join Gabe.

“Hello? Anyone aboard?” Jenny called out but received no answer. Moving forward, she approached the open area of the boat. There was a full moon, and it was easy to see the decking. She and Gabe both came to a stop when they saw the blood pooled along the side of the boat.

“Call the Coast Guard,” Jenny shouted to Rose. Then with Gabe at her side, she slowly walked around the upper deck of the boat, making sure there was nobody injured and in need of help. But the deck was empty. Turning to Gabe, Jenny motioned to the door to the lower deck. He nodded his understanding, and they slowly walked to the door. Gabe was ready to kick the door down, but Jenny held her hand up and turned the knob slowly, not wanting to alert anybody who might be down below of their presence. The two disappeared from the sight of those aboard the ferry, and everyone held their breath in anticipation.

It only took a few moments for the two aboard the disabled vessel to come back on deck.

“The boat’s abandoned, there’s nobody on board,” Gabe called out. There was a collective sigh of relief, but not from everyone. Jenny realized the blood they had seen was severe. Someone had been attacked or seriously hurt, and they were no longer on the boat. It only stood to reason whoever belonged to the spilt blood had gone overboard. Climbing back on the ferry, with Gabe behind her, Jenny walked over to Capt. Rose and Morgan.

“This is now a crime scene. We need to wait for the Coast Guard. I don’t know what happened here, but somebody suffered a severe or fatal injury on that boat.”

Without a word, Captain Rose reached over and flipped a knob on the speakers, shutting off the music. The time for festivities was over. Morgan walked back out on the deck and stood away from the others looking out to sea, feeling a sense of danger surrounding her. In the distance, she could see a boat approaching, but from experience knew it wasn’t the Coast Guard cutter. The sense of being threatened increased, and without even realizing it, Morgan let one of her new abilities take over to protect those on the ferry. The boat approaching was bringing danger with it.

It started at Morgan’s feet, swirling and dancing with the wind, thickening as her sense of danger increased. The mist spread and began to engulf the ferry wrapping it in its protective cloak. Jenny and Gabe walked over to stand next to Morgan; they both knew about her ability, and they both realized she was trying to protect them.

“Jenny, get everybody inside and tell them to be quiet.” Without looking at her friend, Morgan gave the instruction, and Jenny hurried off, getting Winnie and Kathy to help her escort everyone inside.

Gabe didn’t move. Instead, he reached out and grabbed Morgan’s hand for support. Together the two of them stood on the deck, watching and listening. By now, they could no longer see the boat approaching, but they could hear the motors. Morgan made a motion with her hand, and the mist moved to thicken around the boat tethered to the ferry. She didn’t know why, but she had a feeling it needed to be hidden from sight.

The other boat was close but not dangerously so. Voices carried in the mist across the waves.

“We need to find that boat and its cargo.”

“It can’t be far. Pops was bleeding pretty badly when he took off. We’ll find him.”

“Yeah, well, we’d better. And that book had better still be on the boat, too.”

The voices faded as the boat passed the ferry, not realizing how close the two vessels had been.

 

I hope you enjoyed a taste of Mist Across The Waves. Look for it’s release on June 3rd. You can also preorder it-so you don’t have to remember to go back!

Next post, I’ll introduce you to another fantastic author. Are you enjoying these interviews as much as I am? 

Until then, stay safe & healthy and happy,

Victoria LK Williams

15 books on shelves

 

Meet Judy Moore

I need to be up front with this post: I’m biased! Judy Moore is a friend of mine and a fellow Sister In Crime member. We have spent hours chatting about books and writing. Even better, we live close to each other, so grabbing a cup of coffee and talking books is super easy.

61Eq65XWpRL._US230_   Meet Judy…

Judy writes wonderful thriller and suspense novels, but I’ve been trying to convince her how great the world of cozies can be. I’m tickled to death that she has written her first cozy mystery. I’ve read it, of course, and Judy nailed it! Her books are on Amazon and part of KU. You can also find her books on Goodreads.

Judy has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine feature writer, and publications editor for several years. A former tennis pro, Ms. Moore’s writing background also includes sports writing, and athletes from various sports are sprinkled throughout some of her novels. A lifelong resident of Florida, she currently resides in Vero Beach.

51FEqXzaumL   A Book Signing To Die For

When did you start writing?
As a child, I read all the time and was obsessed with fairy tales, the Dana Girls, and later Agatha Christie. But I was a math major and never thought seriously about writing until I took journalism my junior year in college and then changed my major from math. Once I started writing news and features, it came very naturally, and I knew it was the job for me. I became a newspaper reporter, a magazine feature writer, and a publications editor. When I took an early retirement from my full-time editing job, I decided it was time to start writing mysteries myself. I’m glad I’m at the point in my life that I can afford to write what I really want to write. I love coming up with oddball characters and writing books where the unexpected happens. I can’t stand formula stories. Sometimes, the bad guy might get away with it.

What is your approach to writing?
I write in a simple journalistic style. Grab the reader’s attention and hold on to it. The first page is essential. If readers aren’t drawn in immediately, they’ll probably put down the book. It’s important to use quotes effectively and succinctly. They have to be natural. I put myself in the character’s head and ask myself, “What would this person really say?” The quotes have to reflect the character’s personality. Above all, don’t let the reader get bored. Keep the story interesting and keep it moving! The biggest challenge in writing mysteries is to give the readers enough clues without giving away the killer.

Have you ever been on any sports teams? If so, what sport?
I grew up playing competitive tennis in Miami, played college tennis at Florida State University, and played on the European circuit. I later became a teaching pro and high school coach. I also played paddle tennis competitively, and my partner and I won the national beach paddle tennis championships three times. Won some table tennis tournaments as well. Because of my tennis background, I also wrote a tennis column for the newspaper for several years and covered many major events.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Having been a journalist, I write quickly. I can write a book in six weeks, and a novella in two weeks. I don’t have a set writing schedule, but just go at it until I’m finished. I might write two hours a day, or I might write ten hours. I can’t really rest until I’ve finished the book. Then, I might take a few weeks, or a few months break, depending on what else is going on in my life at the time.

Who is your favorite character?
I have two favorite characters. One is Scratchoff McLean, a homeless man with a big heart who is obsessed with scratch-off lottery tickets. He appears in two of my novels, Somebody in the Neighborhood and my new cozy mystery A Book Signing To Die For. The other is 11-year-old Lily, a manic matchmaker in my Christmas novella Airport Christmas. I truly love oddball characters and try to include at least one in every book I write.

8125h6jH90L.SR160,240_BG243,243,243   Somebody in the Neighborhood 

I hope you have enjoying meeting Judy. She’s a wonderful person as well as a excellent writer. I’m lucky to have her as a friend.  In my next post, look for an sneak-peek at my newest Book Mist Across The Waves, launching on June 3rd. Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend. And say a pray of thanks for all who have given something precious for our freedoms.