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 mydinner 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.
Today we get to meet another writer from our north. I still have a hard time considering Canada as part of my international series. I was raised right along the US/Canada Border in Niagara Falls, and I sure spent a lot of time on the Canadian side. I even have family in Canada. And they are fascinating folks as you are about to find out…
Bohemian Lake is made up of five series including my best-selling books, the Haunted House Flippers. It features Juniper Palmer and Jack Young. As Bohemian Lake’s newest contractors, they’re expecting renovations most daunting, but what they get are murders most haunting. If you want to join them as they buy a haunted old mansion in Jack’s hometown and settle in to fix & flip it, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08886DD91
The other four series set in the Bohemian Lake are:
Penning Trouble: This adventurous cozy mystery series revolves around a traveling investigator from Bohemian Lake who’s always up for an avalanche of trouble. Penny’s first two books have a more of a traditional feel. A treasure hunt brings her home to Bohemian Lake for the summer and an ex-boyfriend has her treading slippery slopes in the Laurentian Mountains by Christmas. The following books in the series take on a more paranormal feel (that is more in line with the overall world) as Penny interacts with Bohemian Lake’s witches, ghost hunters, and takes on esoteric assignments around the world. You can check out Penny here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087T5MVCY
Bohemian Murder Manor: This series revolves around a family of paranormally gifted Roma women who run a themed resort called Caravan Manor. The Vianu ladies can always spot trouble in the cards. Unfortunately for the manor’s guests, it isn’t just trouble they see. It’s ghosts. This series starts out with a good old fashioned locked room mystery but delves deeper into the world of ghosts as we explore Mallory’s psychic abilities. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079V62NWS
Bookish Adventures in Witch-Lit is a haunting paranormal cozy mystery series about an adventurous book club run by witches. We first meet Sera Popescu in Bohemian Murder Manor when she comes to town for the Vianu’s Hexfest event. After that we follow Sera’s life at the bookstore. Sera is a witch hired to help Nelle Storey run the literary tours. Each book takes Sera and her black cat, Medieval to a new country revolving around a book they’ve just read, namely, Germany, Scotland and Romania. Of course, in every story they seem to find themselves wrapped up in a murder mystery. Sera’s boyfriend who is a ghost-hunter is also prominently featured. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086X7C5J5
Bohemian Festival Fiasco: This series is about Eve Banter. You will find her to be the comic relief in every single Bohemian Lake book. She’s an outspoken sixty-year-old with her own private spy network and an appetite for destruction. Let me just say that Eve is everyone’s favorite character, which is why she got her own series. She works for the Trubble family at Bohemian Lake’s Private Ink & Eye as she’s as able to chase down a lead as to outrun a culprit, no matter how ridiculous her boots. Eve’s antics, especially her penchant for breaking and entering, drives her friends nuts. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087TMCLDJ
Have you ever been to the United State and if so where? I’ve been everywhere, man. “I’ve been everywhere, man. Crossed the desert’s bare, man.” Oh, and now I have Johnny Cash in my head. Lol. No, but seriously, I have been to Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, California, Texas and a ton of other places in between. I LOVE to travel which is probably why two of my series revolve around characters who travel. 😛 My favorite trips were to Las Vegas and Nashville. Las Vegas was for a writers conference and Nashville/Memphis was for my husband’s work and funny enough was where I wrote Murder, She Floats. I had a ton of fun in both places.
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? Oh, I can’t think of any right now. Although I know they come up because my beta readers question them. :p Of course, everyone knows we say EH! A lot. It’s like HUH for us. “It’s cold out there, eh?”
Where would you take a US visitor to your country to first and why? Hmm. If I were recommending travel, I’d say go skiing in British Columbia or spend the day hiking nature in Banff National Park. If you want lobster and lighthouses then head to the East Coast. Or Cobblestone streets and kitschy ski villages then check out old Quebec and Tremblant. But if I were personally guiding visitors, I’d take them to the beach that’s about twenty minutes from my house. I live in the Kawartha lakes area of Ontario. Or I’d take them for a walk through the many nature trails of Ontario. Wilderness is everywhere. There’s also cross country trails and a ski hill about 40 minutes away. In the summers when we’re not in lockdown I love to roller-skate at the local arena.
Describe your writing space. Aged dormers and exterior brick! I live in a Second Empire Victorian home just like the one in Haunted House Flippers. So, my house is very atmospheric to write in especially when it comes to ghosts. My personal favorite place is the attic but I mostly write in my study. My husband who is very handy just like Jack in the HHF series, actually renovated much of our house including my study so it’s lined with bookshelves and has a secret passage that leads into my gym.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing? My typical work schedule is 8-5 everyday (including weekends) because I love to get lost in Bohemian Lake. However, things have been a little different with Covid. My 8 yo daughter is enrolled in online learning while my teenage son attends the local high school when we’re not locked down. We’ve been in lock down since December. Anyway, during my work day I take plenty of breaks to cook and chat with the kids. I also take breaks to stretch meditate, and workout to improve my overall health. I’m having back surgery this month. And while I exercise, I listen to spiritual growth podcasts. I love learning and growing my muscles, my brain and my higher consciousness.
How do you research for your books? How do you stop is more like it? Bahaha. It’s an addiction. Everything is a source of research for me. I read every night before bed, I google constantly, and I love to watch tv shows that inspire me. For example, I watched a lot of Sabrina when I was writing Sera Popescu’s stories. I watched a lot of Ancient Aliens when writing Penny’s esoteric adventures in Paris. I wrote Sera’s Scotland adventure while in Scotland, and I wrote Haunted House Flippers while renovating my own house and living on HGTV.
What do you hope your readers take away from your books? Belly laughs, a sense of adventure and a feeling of coming home. Everything I look for in my fave books.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? I worked in advertising for twenty years specifically online marketing and social media. So, that would be an easy leap back for me, but outside of writing, I do coach people on fitness, mindset and publishing. The fitness aspect is probably my fave because it makes such huge difference in people’s daily lives. We all want to make a difference, am I right?
Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write? It’s hard to choose just one because they all take me to a different place and time in my life. But I would say Haunted House Flippers: Black Cats, Corpses and the Pumpkin Pantry was fun because it’s set in Tarrytown and is a bit of a spoof on the Headless Horseman.
Thanks to Rachael for a great interview. I can’t wait to start reading her books, now to decide which series to start with!
And speaking of series, I’m so excited to announce the rough draft of book 6, the series completions, in the Beach House Mysteries is done! Now it’s on to the editing. I’m planning on books 5 and 6 to be released this spring. Who do you think will win the battle over Pearl Island? Morgan or the sea-witch Cora?
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.
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!
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.
Before I continue with the next round of author interviews, I’d like to introduce you to a new genre of cozy mystery. I’m really excited about this new group of books and authors and think you will too.
Meet Kent Halloway…
Kent Holloway started a Facebook group to get the word out about Brozy Mysteries, and that is how I found him and the genre. You’d be surprised at the authors who are getting on board with this movement. So, without further ado, here is Kent’s introduction to the Brozy Mystery Movement.
Brozies! Brozies! Brozies! Why Won’t This Guy Shut Up About Brozies?
By J. Kent Holloway
Short answer to the blog post title: Probably not. At least for quite a while anyway. In fact, you’re probably going to see me talking more and more on the topic of brozy mystery. The beautiful thing is, you’re probably going to start seeing a lot more people talking about it in the blogosphere as well. The reason? It’s catching on. It’s becoming a thing. It’s building momentum. More and more authors are jumping on board. And it’s beautiful.
On a personal level, I’m not likely to stop talking about brozies for another reason. You see, after nearly ten years of writing across all spectrums of genres (thrillers, pulp, adventure, horror, and fantasy), I finally found my niche. The problem was, my niche didn’t have a clearly defined genre. It was mystery, sure. It was clean. No foul language. No sex (barely any romance at all). I was too clean for straight up mysteries. But my books were too masculine-centric to find a comfortable place among the frills and cupcakes of the cozy genre too (heck, when I mentioned wanting to write cozy mysteries, my own mother had the audacity to ask, “Aren’t they a little girly for you?” She was actually embarrassed by the prospect, and rightly so, I think. I don’t do cats or tea parties. I don’t do book clubs and baking. I don’t do florists or caterers.
I do mystery and adventure. I do mystery and jungles. I do mystery and voodoo. I do mystery and lost treasures. I do…well, you get the point.
So, I ventured forth to build a genre that best suited my own particular brand of cozy mystery…the brozy mystery. It was a female fan and reader who came up with the name, by the way. And, as you’d expect, it isn’t without its controversies. I’ve been labeled a misogynist and sexist for even suggesting such a thing. The reason is easy to understand. The word ‘bro’ carries with it a certain derogatory connotation by many. To these people, it harbors visions of frat guys and douchebags who womanize and cheat and lie to get what they want. To me, the word ‘bro’ carries with it another ideal. That of ‘brotherhood’. Brotherhood conjures up concepts such as bravery, loyalty, being steadfast. I think of rugged exceptionalism (another bad word to some in this day and age). Of heroic deeds. It conjures images of knights in shining armor, Buck Rogers, and Indiana Jones. Good guys (whether male or female) wearing white hats and villains wearing black.
Brozies to me appeal to interests that are traditionally more masculine in nature. Spies, race car drivers, stunt men, adventurers, archaeologists, space cadets. Guys are more interested in Star Wars than they are the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. They’re more interested in football than in crafts. They want stories that excite and pump up the adrenaline. I know a lot of women who want this too, by the way. I can’t tell you the number of messages I’ve received recently from female readers who’ve thanked me for spearing-heading this. Women who just can’t take another cupcake recipe in the back of a mystery (their words, not mine).
Sexist or not, men are less inclined to read books that appear catered to the female reader (I know there are some exceptions because I’m one of them). It’s also true that die-hard readers of cozies (in the form they are now in) aren’t open to more masculine interests (i.e. a futuristic space cozy).
I know this because I’ve recently come across a male writer, Richard Dee, who created a fantastic cozy mystery series called the Andorra Pett series which is set on Saturn. All sorts of fun sci-fi tropes, many which are retro. It originally featured a female sleuth with cute traditionally cozy covers, but yet, according to the author, it’s been difficult to find traction. (He’s recently revamped the covers for a more brozy vibe.) Traditional cozy readers are slow to accept new concepts, especially those that are set in the future in space. So Richard was most pleased to find out little group of Brozy enthusiasts who are looking to change the literary (or at least, cozy) world.
There are other mystery authors out there who are a little more grounded in our world. Recently, I’ve discovered Colin Conway and his Brody Steele series. I’m currently reading book one, Cozy Up to Death, and it’s so much fun. The book (series) takes the cozy mystery and turns it up on its ears. The protagonist is an ex-biker enforcer. But he’s currently in witness protection. And he’s forced to own and run a bookstore (check off one cozy trope). The bookstore has a cat (check another cozy trope), and of course, our hero is not a cat person. But a biker-sleuth? Unheard of! And awesome! And funny. And clean as a whistle (although I’ve never known why whistles are supposed to be clean).
And if you subscribe to my newsletter, you already read my interview with John Gaspard and learned about his fantastic Eli Marks Mysteries. In them, Eli Marks, a typical guy with all the problems guys have, is a professional stage magician. He’s not the best. He’s not the worst. But he makes a good living at it, as well as the magic shop he and his uncle run. But of course, Eli stumbles on bodies quite frequently and uses his skills to help solve murders and other crimes. There’s not a crotchet stick or recipe anywhere to be found. But guys love magic. So it’s awesome, and I consider it a brozy. I’m just not sure it appeals to the classic cozy reader.
That’s why this brozy genre is so important. So people can find these books easier. The dream is to have you, the reader, simply type ‘brozy mystery’ into Amazon’s database and be presented with all the amazing mysteries that guys (and ladies who like more manly tropes in their books) will love all in the one place. By the way, try it. Try searching for ‘brozy mysteries’ in Amazon. Once you bypass Amazon’s spellcheck procedure trying to switch things to ‘cozy’, you’ll already be presented with several books whose authors believe to be perfect for the brozy mystery genre.
This is an exciting time to be a writer! An exciting time to be a fan of clean mysteries with more manly appeals. I hope you’ll embrace the dream, and join us on this journey! Oh, by the way, if you’re interested in learning more, go to Facebook and join our Brozy Mysteries R Us group. We’d love to have you!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can you believe it’s the end of July? Nothing seems normal this year, including the passage of time! I hope you are all well and healthy and somehow enjoying your summer months. It’s been the typical weather pattern here in South Florida: hot and humid, with afternoon thunderstorms. Oh well, at least the weather is predictable.
I have an announcement before we meet our next author; Mist By The Lighthouse, book 3 in the Beach House Mystery Series, was released yesterday. I am so loving this series! You can get your copy fromBooks2Read.
Now let’s discover another author…
Meet Tammie Hunter
Tammie writes Science Fiction and Paranormal Suspense. Her literary career began at the age of seven. Inspired by her favorite Looney Tunes character, Marvin the Martian, she wrote about the adventures of Jigme from the planet Doobar. Through Jigme’s trials and tribulations as he searched for his family, a great love was born. Although she continued to write over the next four decades, a successful career in the US Air Force took center stage. After a career-ending injury ended her military career, and with the love and support of her family, friends, and the VA, Tammie earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and once again found herself in public service. Today, she writes at night after a long day at work, after a formidable forty-five minute battle with the treadmill, and finally after ensuring the kitchen is once again safe for human visitors. Tammie continues to hope that one day her day job and her dream job will be one in the same.
What inspired you to start writing? My mother is from the Philippines. She married my father, an Air Force jet engine mechanic. When I was ten years old, my teacher sent home a progress report which declared my penmanship to be atrocious. Yes, the pointy-nosed woman actually used the word atrocious! After Mom and I looked up the word atrocious, she mandated that every day after I finished my homework, I would spend an hour each day practicing my penmanship. As one would imagine, I was miserable and complained the entire sixty minutes. Since my mother was still learning how to speak English, she proposed that instead of lines and lines of cursive letters, I write a story. This way she could learn English and I would practice my penmanship. Thus was born Tammie Hunter the writer. I wrote four installments of the travels of Jigme from the planet Zoobar. Like me, Jigme was ten years old and had a little brother who annoyed him constantly. One day, while on vacation with his family, Jigme gets lost. I, my mother, and Jigme experienced several ups and downs during his journey to his family. Along the way, my penmanship improved and my mother passed her US citizenship test with a score of 100%.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers? I have three that have become my mantra: (1) write every day, even if it’s not on your book. Maybe a journal entry, a list of things you are grateful for, or a cherished memory from your childhood. Just write. (2) Read. Stephen King once said, you can’t be a writer if you don’t read. He’s spot on, I believe (3) And, most important: Never quit. I didn’t publish my first book until I was 50 years old. I began that book three days after my 15th birthday. In those thirty-five years, I was an airman with the US Air Force, a student who earned a Master’s degree, and a lost women forced to start a new career after a devastating injury at the age of thirty-three. Life may slow the writer in you down, but it can’t stop her. Never, ever quit.
Who is your favorite author and why? My favorite author is Clive Cussler, may he rest in peace. I want a book to transform me to another world, to lose myself and live the character’s adventure. Mr. Cussler has been just that for me for almost forty years. After a long day of treatments and therapy, I could always trust Dirk Pitt and Giordina to transport me away from my painful reality long enough to give me the strength to face my life again. Through Mr. Cussler’s prose, I have saved the world many times whilst traveling to the Sahara to the deepest oceans. His books stay with me long after I’ve read the last page. I hope one day that my readers will love Travis and Annabelle (my protagonists) with the same intensity and devotion.
How do you develop your plots and characters? While some of my characters and plotlines come from my dreams, most come from everyday life. I am a devoted people watcher with a wild and uncontrollable imagination. I’ve created not only characters but also entire storylines inspired by the people I see in grocery stores, airports, and doctor’s offices. I once wrote a short story about a woman I saw in Boston’s Logan Airport. Dressed head-to-toe in glowing lime green, in my imagination she was an undercover CIA agent following a known terrorist who had a fondness for vivid colors and vivacious women.
Book summary: Annabelle spent her life labeled an Imperfect…
An alien humanoid race invades Earth and enslaves its inhabitants. Annabelle and her sister survive genetic testing at the hands of Silas Tricbar. Separated from her sister, Annabelle escapes the genetically modified Lixtar soldiers and finds refuge amongst Earth’s rebel forces. Twenty years later, she learns the truth about her genetic testing and joins newfound alien allies. Once considered imperfect, Annabelle becomes Earth’s best hope in the struggle for freedom from Tricbar’s tyranny.
…Now she’s their only hope
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.
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!
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.
I hope you are all enjoying the 4th of July weekend. Currently, as I look out my window into my garden, I’m seeing a light show. But it’s nature’s show, full of lightning, heavy rain and rumbling thunder. I don’t mind at all; I love a good thunderstorm.
Before we meet our next author, I would like to announce that book 3 in the Beach House Mysteries, Mist By The Lighthouse is now up for preorder!
And now onto our next writer and my friend…
meet Jessica Baker…
Jessica writes cozy mysteries, with a focus on historical cozies. She is also writing historical romance. Jessica has just released her first cozy mystery and you can find it on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.
How long have you been writing? I started writing in elementary school, but I only just published my first book at the end of March. I started looking into writing as a serious career option in 2017.
Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? This year, I’m going to be focusing on writing and finishing more books to be published. Right now, I’m focusing on adapting a script I wrote in school into a historical romance novel. I’m really excited about that.
What do you like to do when you are not writing? I like knitting and crocheting when I’m not writing. I’ve made several dresses and shirts for myself, although most of them are too hot to wear in Florida.
What is your writing Kryptonite? My writing Kryptonite is either being too wordy or not wordy enough.
Plotter or Pantser? I am a plantser, which is a combination of a plotter and panter. I usually come up with a loose outline for the story before I begin. I know where the story will begin and end, but the journey in the middle takes on a life of its own while writing.
Hello everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy. And taking advantage of being home to catch up on your reading. And getting to know new-to-you authors! Here is our next guest… I am so pleased to introduce our next author. We have become great friends, and I have the privilege of being part of Trisha’s ARC team! I can promise you her books are enjoyable and a splendid way to spend an afternoon.
Meet Trisha J. Kelly…
A multi-genre author. Cozy, mystery, crime, children, middle-grade. Those are her published books. She is now also working on YA, horror, historical fiction, and a contemporary comedy. She enrolls all her books with KU available as E-books and paperback. Her books are 99p so everyone can afford to read them.
When did you start writing?
I started writing this time around, in November 2016. It was at a time in my life I wanted a change, writing was something I’ve always wanted to do. As a child, I wrote poetry and won first prize in a national competition. I then went on to write a few poems in the early 90’s which were published alongside other authors.
Back then I wrote a book for children called the Bromington Nomad. I didn’t do anything with it, it’s still in a folder. All these years later I’ve taken that fictional place and I’m using it in my current set of cozy books.
So, in November 2016 I wrote my first book. The first in a middle-grade series called Discovering Witchetty Waters. It took off, I won two awards and hit some No.1 hotspots on Amazon in Hot New Releases and Children’s Books. It was an honour to be sandwiched among the great writers, even if for a short while!
Describe your writing space. Most of the year we stay in our caravan, which is right beside the seafront on the West Norfolk coast in the UK. It is central for my husband’s work and we have a beach on the doorstep. This is a great playground for our dogs (or it was) sadly, we lost one this January after nearly 14 years of cuddles and fun. Our other dog is a monkey for his age, so we don’t let him off the lead alone now, for a little guy he is still full of mischief! So, this is my space, and it’s a great one for writing.
Who is your favorite character? This has got to be Rosie, Rosie Wodehouse in my Bromington series. She has a great personality, loving, generous, astute, and a tiny bit fragile. She also has great resolve and doesn’t let life get her down when times have been tough.
Does one character hold a special place in your heart, and why? Again, this is Rosie Wodehouse. Sometimes in life do you ever think, I wish I could turn back the clock? Do things differently? I suppose in Rosie, I’m living the alternate side of life through her. I’ve had some great times and I love my family, but if I had my time again, I would never have married the wrong guy the first time! I would have met my husband ten years earlier, and then this would have been my dream, investigating! Living in a gorgeous property and raising my family in an idyllic place. So, as a writer, I’m giving this lady my ‘perfect’ life! If that makes sense.
What do you hope your readers take away from your books? My heart and soul. When we write, we project our personalities into everything we create. I hope people can feel my characters, believe my stories, and enjoy them. Can’t ask for any more than that, really.
The first of July is this week! Not only does that mean summer is in full swing, but it is also the signal for many writers, like myself, to buckle down and write! Once again, I will take part in Camp NaNo. My goal is to write 45-50k words in 30 days. I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it. Good luck to all who are joining in on the writing challenge.