Meet P.D. Workman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

one of several Christmas books!

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

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

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

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

Victoria LK Williams

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

Meet Morgan Best

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

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

Morgan Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Kathy Manos Penn

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

Kathy Manos Penn with Banjo

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

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

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

Click to go to book

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

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

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

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

Click picture to go to book

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s That Time!

Do you love to read books with a holiday theme? I do! And they are showing up on the different book sites, just asking to be downloaded. I thought I would share some of the ones my author friends are publishing and make it easy for you to pick from.

We’ll start with Halloween. Think spooky black cats, ghosts, murder and mayhem. Oh, and witches, there are plenty of witches! Ready? Here we go!

And a taste to get you ready for the Christmas Holiday!

Watch for interviews from these great writers in the next couple of weeks! And next month, I’ll compile a list of Christmas books.

Happy Reading!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Paul Austin Ardoin

Paul is the first of the Brozy Authors you are going to meet. If you missed the last post, Brozy Authors write light, entertaining whodunit cozy mysteries that appeal to more traditional male interest. Either by the chief character being male or the story line taking a more masculine turn (think book store owner vs biker). If you haven’t tried a brozy, then you’re in for a whole new adventure!

Meet Paul Austin Ardoin

Why do you write “Brozy”?
I’ve loved mystery stories ever since I was a little kid—Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew. When I was in junior high, I burned through most of Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.
As an adult, I’ve absolutely loved the Kinsey Milhone and Stephanie Plum books. Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich don’t write cozies, but neither do they write blood-and-gore thrillers. Their protagonists are smart, savvy professionals who are highly competent but don’t take themselves too seriously. Their books hint at darker themes without being disturbing, and their books have a lot of humor without being silly or absurd.
I majored in creative writing in college, and spent years trying to write literary fiction. In my forties, I realized I needed to change gears to write the books like the ones I love reading… and that’s why I find myself writing in this genre. I’ve often heard it called “soft-boiled” or “traditional,” but so often “traditional” means “British,” and my mysteries are set in California.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve wanted to be a novelist ever since I can remember. I majored in creative writing in college and published a few short stories, but I was never able to finish a novel. When I turned 45, I realized that if I wanted to call myself a novelist, I actually had to finish a novel.I re-started writing The Reluctant Coroner for National Novel Writing Month in 2017, and I promised myself that no matter what, I’d finish the book—even if I thought it was horrible or unsalvageable. And about two-thirds of the way through, I realized it needed to be written in third person, not first person. Before, that would have been enough for me to abandon the book, but I remembered the promise I’d made to myself. So I finished the book. It was a painful process to rewrite the whole thing in third person, but at the end, I’d finished what eventually became my debut novel.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting?
I’ve gotten some valuable advice over the years. The most valuable thing is to finish what you start. Many writers have a few half-finished novels—some have dozens! Promising yourself you’re going to finish and then actually finishing is the most valuable thing I’ve ever learned. As Jodi Picoult says, “You can’t edit a blank page.” But editing a bad novel and making it good is possible, and usually way less painful than starting over.
One more piece of advice: write 200 words every day. NaNoWriMo was great to get my first book going, but it’s 1,600-plus words a day is daunting. 200 words, though, is usually fifteen or twenty minutes, and it’s something you can do even at the end of a busy day or at the end of your lunch break. Sometimes I find that I don’t want to write at all, but then I force myself to write those 200 words—and I get into a groove before those 200 words are up. Suddenly, three hours will have passed in an instant and I’ll have written 4,000 words.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
My wife was looking into becoming a nursing student, and she began to research careers in the field. In California where we live (and in several other U.S. states), an MD isn’t required to be a coroner. I started thinking about what would lead a nurse to become a coroner, and came up with Fenway Stevenson. A lot of the personality of Fenway and her father came from the simple idea that a father would insist on naming his daughter after his favorite team’s home stadium (for those of you who aren’t baseball fans, the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway Park).
When I started writing The Reluctant Coroner, all I had was the character of Fenway, the character of her father, and the identity of the murderer. I didn’t even know who the victim was when I began the first chapter! But as I wrote, both the plot and characters began to take shape. Many times, something would happen in the plot that surprised me—not as I was writing it, but just before it took shape. Quite often, these plot threads would take the story in an entirely different direction, or would turn an extremely minor character into a strong secondary character.
What time of the day do you usually write?
Before the pandemic, I used to travel a lot for work, and would often find myself with 20 minutes waiting for my flight to board, or back in my hotel room after a business dinner, and I’d take that spare time to write. I listen to “The Bestseller Experiment” podcast, and bestselling author Shannon Mayer discussed how working authors don’t have time to “wait” for their Muse—they have to grab their Muse by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and insist that inspiration come immediately. So I don’t wait for a time of day to write or a seat at my favorite coffee place to open up. I can write anywhere at any time.
Most often, I’m in my home office at my desk, but I’ll take fifteen minutes at lunch, grab an hour before work, or wake up early on a weekend to write.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Unlike 85% to 90% of the population, I don’t have an internal monologue. I don’t think in complete sentences—my thoughts are more nebulous, and it’s like they unspool when they transform into words that come out of my mouth or off my fingertips onto the keyboard. As a result, my first three novels had early drafts that were littered with “filtering words” or “distancing words,” instead of the free direct narration that most readers prefer—and that give books a sense of immediacy. (These are phrases like “she saw the car drive away,” “she decided to get up,” or “she realized she needed to tell him the truth,” instead of the much more direct “the car drove away,” “she got up,” or “she told him the truth.”) I used these filtering words because it’s the way I experience the world, and the direct narration felt fake to me. My editor is the one who made me realize that I’m the odd duck—that free and direct narration is much more effective. This last novel, number six, was the first in which I didn’t overuse filtering words—and as a result, it had the least amount of red ink coming back from the editor.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Many writers I know couldn’t write anything when the pandemic first started and the world closed down. For me, writing was the only thing that took my mind off everything horrible that was happening in the world. Because I don’t have an internal monologue, I could unspool the thoughts that made me write my book instead of unspooling the thoughts that led me into anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips because my brain is weird like that.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written six novels in this series and a novella of one of the secondary characters 25 years before the start of the first book. I always feel like the last book I’ve written is my favorite. Often, it’s because I’ve challenged myself to do something I wasn’t sure I could do—for instance, Book 5, The Courtroom Coroner, is what TV people call a “bottle episode”: it all happens in a single room without people coming or going. Currently, my new release, The Watchful Coroner, is my favorite because I can see the progress my characters have made along their arcs, and it’s very satisfying to see it.
When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also you?
Fenway Stevenson’s character arc is the thing that keeps me fresh. She’s at a different point in her relationship with 1) her father, 2) her main love interest, and 3) her job as coroner in every single book. It feels natural to me that she’d progress (and sometimes regress) in the way she has.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Rarely have I ever been inspired by a true-crime headline, but I have taken ideas from situations I’ve experienced in the past—with a murder overlaid. For example, I was in a Shakespeare troupe in college, very similar to the North American Shakespeare Guild in Book 4, The Upstaged Coroner. While none of the characters (except the director) were based on real people, the intensity of the rehearsals, the camaraderie of the company, and the emotions that the play brought to light are the things I hope I translated to the pages of the book.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
Not many readers have noticed this, but Fenway—who has a difficult and strained relationship with her father—never calls him “Dad” except to his face. When talking about him, she always says “my father.” This changes at some point in the series… and for readers of the books, it’s probably obvious where it is and what the catalyst of the change is.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
I’ve started on Book 7, The Accused Coroner, and it will wrap up some of the longer arcs in the series. I plan to go on to write at least two more Fenway Stevenson novels after this and maybe more.
How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
I have ideas for three other book series. One is about a private investigator who’s at the center of a 12-book series of interconnected crimes called Murders of Substance. One follows a secondary character from Fenway Stevenson Book 2, The Incumbent Coroner, and the investigations she spearheads. And one has another estranged father/daughter duo as the main characters, on the run from federal agents after being set up for a crime they didn’t commit. I hope to start one of those series after writing book 7 in the Fenway series.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Even in my late teens and early twenties, most of my protagonists were women, and I’ve always been told I have a good sense of narrative voice when my main character is female. I’m not sure why, but I did take one of those Marcus Buckingham “First Discover Your Strengths” tests, and I’m high in empathy. Perhaps I find it easier than most people to put myself in another person’s shoes? The one thing that DOES get me, though, is giving Fenway believable reactions in certain situations. For example, Fenway had a tough conversation with a co-worker, and walked home in the twilight from her co-worker’s apartment to hers—about two miles, with her headphones in listening to music. My critique group POUNCED on that—there’s no way, no matter how safe the neighborhood, that a woman walking by herself at night would do it with headphones in. Fenway is half-Black, too, and there were a bunch of things about basic day-to-day stuff like hair care that I had to be told to go research because I was getting it wrong.
What was your hardest scene to write?
In an early scene The Reluctant Coroner, Fenway’s assistant gets a little tipsy and then confesses that the murder victim sexually assaulted her two days before his death. The scene in which she talks about what he did was by far the hardest scene I ever had to write. Part of it was because of the disturbing subject matter (although it’s relatively tame compared to many thrillers), but part of it was also because I hadn’t ever written anything like that before. I hadn’t plotted that scene out, either—it was a complete surprise to me that she confessed it to Fenway. I couldn’t write another word in the book for three days afterward, and probably only started again because it was during NaNoWriMo and I was getting behind on my words.

The first book in the Fenway Stevenson Mystery series, The Reluctant Coroner, is free (at least until October 1) on all major e-book retailers: www.books2read.com/fenway1

Book 6 in the series, The Watchful Coroner, is available September 22: www.books2read.com/fenway6

The easiest place to find Paul’s books: www.books2read.com/rl/fenway
You can also locate all of them at www.paulaustinardoin.com


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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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 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?

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(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!

Meet Cherime MacFarlane

Wow! Can you believe it’s June already? Where has the first half of the year gone?  Oh, that’s right, we spent a lot of it close to home practicing self distancing. To say that this year has been unusual is a huge understatement. But I’m please to have been able to introduce you to some great writers that may have been new to you. And there are plenty more for you to meet. So, let’s not waste any time and get on with the show…
hat background removed BW    Meet Cherime!

A book can take you out of this world to another. Not a bad thing right now.

Cherime writes Historical romance, romance, apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy, paranormal and her books are wide.
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Highland-Light-cherime-macfarlane-logo    nightwinds shadow-cherime-macfarlane
Highland Light                          Nightwind’s Shadow

How long have you been writing?
Since I was a child. Started with poetry. I wrote my first full length novel in the 1970s in longhand while sitting in a loft in the wilds of Alaska.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Often right as I’m about to drift off to sleep. They sort of float into my mind.

Describe a typical writing day.
Get up around 4 or 5 am, get coffee and toast, turn on the computer. Check Facebook, edit or write or do teasers. Maybe lunch, maybe not. Quit in the afternoon and chill on the couch. Go to bed read for a couple of hours. Maybe sleep. Fingers crossed.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
Marketing is my least favorite. I’d rather be writing.

What is the significance of the title?
Highland Light: Ailene isn’t a beauty, but she is honest and forthright. Gideon never thought to have a home and family. Ailene’s name means light and she is his.
Nightwind’s Shadow: He hides in the dark from the things that have hurt him growing up. JoJo begins as his shadow but draws him out of the shadows.

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I love hard or not at all.

Plotter or Pantser?
Pantser

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Live, love and learn all you can. Fill your mind with experiences, places, people. Let it mix and then write.

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I hope you enjoyed meeting Cherime MacFarlane. I’m always fascinated with writers who come from Alaska. Maybe because I’m in Florida; about as far away from there as you can be and still be in the US!  Until next time, be safe, healthy and happy.

Victoria LK Williams