Meet Rune Stroud

Rune Stroud

Rune Stroud is a lover of ghost tales, paranormal mysteries, especially if they have a touch of humor. And that’s what she writes. A veteran, a mom and a grandmom, she also is an animal lover-ask the neighborhood squirrels and stray cat. She has been a part of Cozy Mystery Tribe, adding her stories to five different anthologies. Her series includes the Tympest Tossed Mysteries and the Serenity Fyre series. Her newest series is the Mystic Mountain Wildlife Rescue, with a witch who is also a wildlife rescuer. You can follow Rune on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon. Be sure to visit her Website and sign up for her newsletter.

Now let’s find out more about Rune’s Witchy Cozy…

Mystic Mountain Wildlife Rescue Cozy Mystery

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
I grew up watching Bewitched, and I’m so loving the idea that magic is there in the mundane world, just out of reach. I write secret witches in the real world. Their powers are limited and sometimes go wonky, but it adds a bit of fun to the world.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
They’re set in the modern day, but without the issues of pandemics and global politics. An idealized version of today, with magic.

Who is your protagonist?
Autumn Oufsdatter, a beast witch (she can speak to animals) with a mischievous raven sidekick. She’s pretty patient most of the time, but some of the characters around her can seriously test her.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Autumn grew up in a family of witches, each with different gifts, so she’s always known about her power. She does, however, discover more about her powers as the books and short stories go along. There hasn’t been a beast witch in the family for generations, so no one to teach her what she can do with her gifts.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
People get quite attached to my characters, probably because I’m so attached to them. They’re real to me, and I hope they become real to the readers as well. Also, who wouldn’t want to ask their pet why they did that goofy thing? It’s fun to get a glimpse into the thoughts of the animals. 

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
I do research on the animals as they’re rescued, and I follow local rescues to get a real feeling for how things work. It’s not exactly the same in my world, but you get a feeling of how urgently rescued animals need help and what rescues have to do day to day for their animals. I also visit the mountains where my stories are set to get a feel for the places they go.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
Most of the time, the crimes are the same, but sometimes, when you add magic into the mix, you get an odd crime that it took magic to pull off, and it’ll take magic to solve. Those are the most fun to figure out. I’ve got one of those in the third book in the series, the one I’m writing now. Armadillos and Arson. 

A note from Rune

I’ve written several short stories in the same world, and they’ve gone out in the Cozy Mystery Tribe’s anthologies. Those are a fun place to discover new authors and get a bunch of bite-sized stories to enjoy. Not all of them are paranormal, but many are, and I believe we all love a good mystery, whether it’s paranormal or not. We’ve got a big one coming up, thirty of us are putting out a big anthology called A Bookworm of a Suspect and trying to hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list with it. There are going to be some great stories in that one, and it’s only 99 cents right now. You can find it on Apple Books, Amazon, Kobo, etc. (https://books2read.com/ABookwormofaSuspect)

Many thanks, Victoria. I’ve enjoyed this interview. You’ve asked some interesting questions that made me think.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Sara Rosett

First off, a big thank you to Sara. She took time out of her vacation to answer our questions and send her infermation to me. But that’s how Sara is, giving back to the writing community. This is apparent when you listen to her podcast too. She hosts Mystery Books Podcast an the Wish I’d known then podcast with Jami Albright.

Sara is a native Texan, and her years as a military spouse gave her plenty of material to use in her books. Sara writes the Ellie Avery series, On the Run series, Murder on Location and High Society Lady Detective series. You can find her on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreads, or BingeBooks. Be sure to visit her website to explore all her books.

Let’s find out more about Sara’s Historical Cozy Mysteries…

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I love escaping to a simpler time when there weren’t cell phones or 24-hour news cycles. And for the mystery aspect of writing historical cozies it makes my sleuth, Olive Belgrave, rely on her “little grey cells,” as Poirot would say, since forensic investigation was in its infancy.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The High Society Lady Detective series is set in the early 1920s. The first book, Murder at Archly Manor, takes place in 1923 in London. During the series, Olive solves cases in grand London townhouses and at stately homes in the English countryside. In the future, she’ll do some international travel too!

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
Olive Belgrave is a young woman with an aristocratic background, but her family doesn’t have much money (something many genteel families faced in the 1920s) but she’s determined to make her own way in the world. However, her lack of business skills such as shorthand and touch-typing means she has a hard time finding work. But then her aunt asks for Olive’s help in checking into the background of her daughter’s suitor. Olive’s intuition and determination mean that she doesn’t give up her pursuit of the truth, even when a murder occurs. Once she sorts the truth from the lies, Olive realizes she’s fallen into work she’s uniquely suited for. Her connections with the upper crust, who are often reluctant to consult a private detective, give her a client base of people who are eager to engage a discreet “lady sleuth” when problems arise.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
I love research and sprinkle interesting details about historical people and events throughout my books. Often a tiny detail becomes a plot point or even the basis for a book. Setting and sense of place are also important to me. I love to create a vivid setting that lets the reader experience the place as if they were there. And, last but certainly not least, I love a good puzzle and try to make every mystery twisty and surprising. 

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
I read lots of books about the 1920s and include details that I think are interesting or that spark an idea for a plot or red herring. For instance, when I learned that people who had asthma during the time period were often “treated” with cigarettes containing herbs, including atropine, well, that had to go in a book!

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
No, I don’t think the crimes are different, but the motives are. Things that wouldn’t cause any distress today could be a motive for murder one hundred years ago. For instance, having a child out of wedlock would have been a scandal in the early 1920s. Even divorce wasn’t so common then. Situations like these could be motives for murder, which would be a stretch in a contemporary cozy. 

A big thank you to Sara and all the wonderful Historical Cozy Mystery authors who were so gracious to let me ask a few questions to share with you. This ends the series on Historical Cozy Mysteries. But hang onto your brooms! Our next series is about those Witchy Writers!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Historical Cozy Mystery Author Riana Everly

Riana Everly

Riana was born in South Africa, but has lived in Canda since she was eight years old. She has a degree in Medieval Studies and is a classical musician. She and her family live in Toronto (I love that city, I honeymooned there!) and she enjoys photography, reading, and cooking when she’s not writing. Riana is the author of the Miss Mary Investigates series. Her books are available in ebook and paperback. Visit her Website to find out where to get her books. And don’t forget to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about her books, visit her Amazon Page.

Let’s find out more about Riana and her books…

Go to Book!

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I’ve always loved mysteries. I cut my teeth on Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five books, and as I grew older, I loved matching wits with Hercule Poirot and Inspector Alleyn. I never thought I’d be able to write a mystery, but the idea was always there in my head.

My second love is historical fiction, and specifically Regency-era fiction. I’m a Jane Austen fan and have written several romances inspired by her works. One day I had the idea that I could set a mystery in the world of Austen’s novels, and the pieces just begin to click together. My two loves were united in one series.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
My stories are set during the Regency era in England. Because they are part of the world of Jane Austen’s six novels, they have rather specific dates. The first one, Death of a Clergyman, is set in Hertfordshire in the year 1811, in the fictional world of Pride and Prejudice.

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen
My protagonist is Mary Bennet, the boring and forgotten middle sister from Austen’s famous novel. Mary is the one who spouts sermons and plays the piano really badly, but what if there’s more to her? What if, instead of being a pedantic bore, she’s aching for attention? And what if, because she’s so ignored, she is able to see and hear things that other people don’t? Throw in Alexander Lyons, a young investigator from London, who might not be quite what he seems, and you have a duo that readers have come to love.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
My mysteries are perfect for people who love Austen and Regency romance, as well as a cracking plot. Each mystery in my series is set in a different one of Austen’s novels, although the two sleuths are the same, moving in the society that Austen created so beautifully. The stories, while separate from Austen’s original creations, shed new light on her characters, while keeping to their essences.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
For me, writing historical fiction is all about the research! I know the era well, but there is always a huge amount of extra reading that I need to do before starting to write. Some of the research involves investigative techniques of the time, or what poisons were available where, or how long it would take to ride a horse from Point A to Point B without killing the horse. Some of the research involves reading legal precedent from the times, or reading accounts of London’s slums or great estates out in the counties.

A lot of this research informs my stories, and a lot makes it into the novels, but I do try to keep it organic and part of the story. I won’t write a treatise on slavery laws, for example, but I might have my characters discuss some aspects that are important to the plot. I take the history part of historical research seriously, but ultimately, mysteries are about entertainment and I want to keep it fun.

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
In essence, I don’t think the crimes are that different. The details might vary to account for changes in technology, but crime is (sadly) an intrinsic part of humanity. The big motives – money, love, and power – transcend time. If someone is intent on murder, he or she will use what is available, and as often as not, the details are less important than the impetus. What does differ is the science available to the investigator. For my characters, working over 200 years ago, there are no surveillance cameras, no fingerprints, no DNA evidence. But they have the most important tools – intelligence, careful questions, sharp eyes, and burning curiosity.

Go to Book

I hope you are enjoying meeting these new authors. And learning a bit of history too.

Victoria LK Williams

July-my month of Learning and Writing!

It seems crazy to designate one month as a special learning and writing month, and it wasn’t planned. July is the month (for me) that new seminars, conferences and webinars are open for attendance. And this year I’m trying to do as many as I can.

Mascote of Sleuth Fest
Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

First there was Sleuth Fest. This was a four-day conference hosted by the Mystery Writers of America. Usually it’s held in the spring, which is my busy gardening time, but this year it was July and for the first time I could attend. Although the conference focuses more on traditional publishing, there was still plenty to learn and wonderful authors to meet. From writers starting on their first book to established authors with one hundred books, the entire conference was friendly and informative.

Now I’m doing an online conference called Inker’s Con. There are enough sessions to keep me busy for days! Top selling Authors, mostly indie, are conducting the sessions and panels (which I love!) on marketing and craft.

Later in the month will be the Self Publishing Conference, also online. I just can’t swing flying to England for a writer’s conference-yet. This is always a good show and full of great information.

And in between all the learning, it’s also Camp Nano Month. You know, write 50k in one month…

You might wonder why writers get involved in NaNo-it’s a lot of extra pressure, so I asked a few authors to share their thoughts.

Why do you participate in NaNo?

Sally Howe Bayless

Writing can be a solitary job. NaNo surrounds you with supportive, encouraging colleagues. The energy helps the words flow!

MP Smith

NaNo is a wonderful kick-start to your novel. It’s a competition with yourself to get a large chunk of writing done within a short time, and the NaNo process makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Writing with friends is always more fun.

Katie Brown

Nano provides a deadline to meet while also fostering comaraderie and encouragement as writers share their progress, wins, and setbacks.

Sheila McCallum Perry

Taking part in NaNo over the years has meant discovering the advantages of writing something every day-whether I feel like it or not!

Victoria LK Williams

My hubby calls me the Queen of Procrastination. He’s right, I’m terrible about doing things at the last minute. NaNo forces me to have a daily goal and the backup of fellow writers.

At the Pool with Miss Marple and Fletch

So there you have it, my educational July, all mapped out! With most of it online, you can be sure I will spend some of my learning time by the pool!

Meet RB Marshall

Just because Valentine’s Day is over, doesn’t mean the romance is. We still have a few more Love-Kissed authors to learn about!

RB (Roz) Marshall writes the Highland Horse Whisperer cozy mystery Series. It is a delightful blend of high-tech and the horse communities (who knew there were stables in the heart of London!) with a heaping of mystery. And a hint of romance!

But when you visit her Website you’ll find so much more; Paranormal, romance, woman’s fiction-these are just the start. Roz lives in Scotland with her husband, cat and dog. She loves horses just as much as Izzy, her main character as well as skiing and music. And if that’s not enough, she is also a cover designer.

click to go to book

Horse trainer by day, I.T. consultant by night, Izzy Paterson is a classic nerd who’s better with animals than humans. But when a body is found at the feet of a prize stallion in the queen’s summer castle in the Scottish Highlands, Izzy—and her new friend Craig—are in the wrong place at the wrong time,
becoming suspects in the murder…

Now let’s hear from Roz

Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story?
The mystery! It’s a cozy mystery, so… But I used to write romance, and I enjoy reading cozies where there’s a romantic sub-plot, so I suppose it’s no surprise I included one in my series.

What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else?
A Corpse at the Castle has a bit of a love triangle going on… My protagonist, Izzy, has to choose between a hot cop and a boy next door type.

The hot cop reminds her of Jon Snow from the Game of Thrones TV series–all dark and brooding with pheromones that set her brain spinning. The boy next door has lots in common with her–he likes horses, for example, and has similar childhood memories. Who should she choose?

Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist?
Of course! The course of true love never runs smoothly, does it…?There are misunderstandings, jealousy and upsets which leave Izzy questioning her choices.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I find it hard not to set my stories in my homeland of Scotland.

It has landscapes to die for, quirky characters around every corner and plenty of interesting events and festivals to help inspire my plots.

My series The Highland Horse Whisperer Mysteries series is set in the fictional village of Glengowrie in Perthshire, on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. It’s small enough that Izzy feels immediately at home, finding new friends to become her surrogate family, but also large enough that we meet lots of interesting and eccentric characters to add to the twists and turns of the plot!

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
The Queen (Queen Elizabeth II) doesn’t usually attend funerals.

When I thought about it, it made sense. I mean, how would you choose which to go to? If you honour one dignitary with your presence, then you’d have to honour everyone. Plus, the presence of a royal would tend to take the focus away from the deceased, which the Queen would not wish to do.

Instead, she just attends funerals of family members and close friends.

What comes first, the plot or characters?
I can’t start a book unless I’ve an idea of how it will end. For my mysteries, I need to know whodunnit, who they dunnit to, why, and how. After that, I can start writing. So the main highlights of the plot come first.

From there, my characters discover the clues along with me. And I discover my characters as I write the first story in a series. With each chapter, they become more real to me, and they grow and develop as the series continues.

That’s why I can’t plot in too much detail—I find my characters start to have opinions about what should happen next, and they often take the story in directions I hadn’t imagined when I started writing!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Victoria Hamilton

Victoria Hamilton

I’m so pleased to introduce another Victoria! (When I was in elementry school there were 6 of us in my class!)

Victoria Hamilton writes traditional cozy mysteries and historical mysteries. You can find her books in most outlets and you can find Cast Iron Alibi on Amazon, Amazon Canada and Barnes & Noble.

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Beach, Resort or Poolside?
I love the beach! I have been a camper my whole life and spent my childhood at campgrounds along the Canadian side of Lake Huron.

Everyone takes a tote back with them when they head out for a day at the beach, what is in yours?
A tote bag? Just the usual stuff inside, I suppose: sunscreen, comb, and of course a book! I love swimming and sand castle building, but once I’ve had my fill then a beach day is the perfect time to read a good book.

What makes your books perfect for a beach read? The setting, the story or the characters?
The Cast! Cast Iron Alibi (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #9)
celebrates a girl’s week gone horribly wrong… you know, when you get together with people you’ve known for years, but something is off? That’s what happens to Jaymie Leighton Müller when she spends a couple of weeks with her college friends at her trailer and cottage on an island in the middle of the St. Clair River, Michigan. It’s a great beach read for the setting (the gals spend a day in Grand Bend, Ontario, a party town on Lake Huron and enjoy a river boat cruise), but the book also explores how life changes our party friends from college… and of course there’s a murder!  

Go to book

What does writing success mean to you?
Success means I can afford to continue writing… that is the best, being able to support myself with my books. Thank you, readers; I appreciate it so much.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written many many books. I haven’t counted, but I’m thinking it’s more than forty now. With so many, there is not one clear favorite, but I have to say, a favorite is Vintage Kitchen Mystery #6, Leave It to Cleaver, in which Jaymie (the main character) gets married, but before that happens solves a mystery that involves her older sister Becca back when she was a teen, in the 80s! The flashbacks and present day mixture was fun to write, and the book had a very satisfying ending for Jaymie and her new husband, Jakob, and Jakob’s little girl, Jocie.

When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also yourself?
I can see how that may be a problem for writers, but I haven’t suffered it yet. There are always new ideas, and I find that I’ll be working along on another series and something – a news article, or something on TV, or something I read – will start an idea in my head that leads to a plot for one of my other series. This happened recently. I’m getting toward the end of writing Vintage Kitchen Mysteries #10, A Calculated Whisk; it is consuming me right now. But still… I saw something about an author in the 1700’s who moved to Bath, England and started a school; before I knew it I had an idea budding for the next Lady Anne Addison Historical Mystery. The point is, writers need to pay attention when those ideas occur and write something down!

Can you give us some insight into what makes your main character tick?
Jaymie Leighton Müller is more complicated than people around her imagine; she appears to be a mild-mannered sweet woman, who loves to cook and cares about local history. But she also has a strong streak of independence, learns her lessons well when she is hurt, and feels strongly about social issues, enough to say something even to those she loves. That – speaking her mind – is hard to do when it is to an elder she respects, but she still finds a way to make her feelings known.

What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
It can never be, but she happens to be my favorite mystery author, the late, great Sue Grafton. In a way she has been my mentor, because I feel I learned so much just by reading and rereading her Kinsey Millhone series.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
All I ever wanted to be was a writer; I’ve been more fortunate than most in being able to do it.

How do you select the names of your characters?
There are certain rules most writers follow when writing novels: don’t have more than one character with the same first letter in their name… it is confusing to the readers (I’ve broken that many times, sometimes to my dismay!); don’t have too many characters; don’t give someone a last name that is also a first name.

I broke that last rule, and to my chagrin it caused me problems. One of my characters in my Merry Muffin Mystery Series is named Dewayne Lester, and from the beginning I accidentally called him Lester on occasion. Well, in the latest Merry Muffin book, Double or Muffin, I ended up calling him Lester throughout and neither I nor my editor noticed! It took an eagle-eyed reader to notice and write to me, and I appreciate it. My editor is correcting it. Other than that, I try to not make names too difficult to pronounce or read; I don’t want to put stumbling blocks in the way of smooth reading. Also… the name has to fit the person.

I would be interested in hearing from readers; are there names you wish a writer would use?

Pre-Order, Sept. 21 release!

Victoria’s books are a delight, and I’m sure you will enjoy them. Summer is winding down, so grab a copy and catch up!

I had a novella release! Novella #2 in the Tattletale Cafe Mysteries

click to go to book


Meet Lise McClendon

Lise McClendon

Lise has been writing mysteries and suspense fiction for 25 years. Lately she has been writing women’s suspense. Her books are available wide, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, & Apple. Some are also in Kindle Unlimited and her books are also on Audible.

A Bennett Sisters Mystery

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Beach, Resort or Poolside?
My favorite vacation spot is a resort with lots of options, from hiking to poolside to shopping. I especially enjoy exotic international vacations, hence my locations in the books, from France to Scotland and more.

Everyone takes a tote bag with them when they head out for a day at the beach, what is in yours?
BOOKS! Plus sunscreen, water, towel, umbrella, and a little cooler filled with good things to eat and drink, like cheese, rosé, hummus, cucumbers, and maybe a baguette!

 What makes your books perfect for a beach read? The setting, the story or the characters?
The plots of my books often involve the characters going a trip, exploring new places and new experiences, meeting intriguing new people, tasting new cuisine, and even learning a new language. I love all these things and try to get the reader immersed in the story through the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an unknown, or unfamiliar, culture.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written about thirty books— that’s the published ones. Like most writers I have a few unpublished ones in my drawer. Hopefully they will never see the light of day! Or maybe my grandchildren will take a look at them someday. My favorite book is usually the one I’ve just written as it is common for me to actually forget the experience and details of past books. I also hope I’ve become a better writer with each book. But recently I went back through my first mystery series, about a Jackson Hole art dealer, and realized to my astonishment that they weren’t bad at all, in fact, pretty entertaining. That was a huge relief! 🙂

When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also yourself?
This is often the hardest part about a long series. I now have 16 books in the Bennett Sisters Mystery series. I have been breaking things up by doing three-part short series over the last two winters, between full-length books. In 2020 I also edited a pandemic anthology of the reflections of 40 writers about life during this strange time.  So I published five books over the last year! I had to take a little mental breather. Whew. I’m now ready to dive back in, but it is necessary to do other things, get out of your head for a while.

Tea or coffee:
 Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
What are you waiting for? Believe in yourself. No one will ever believe in you more than you believe in yourself.

A Bennett Sisters Mystery

Be sure to connect with Lise on all her social media spots; Facebook, Instagram and Bookbub!

In my publishing news, I have a new novella to be published on August 15th! This is the second in the Tattletale Cafe series.

Click to get book!

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 Jessica Baker

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. 

MIST BY THE LIGHTHOUSE VICKI  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…

jessica baker 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.

flyscot  Murder of the Flying Scotsman

Here are all the links to find Jessica and her book. Be sure to connect with her to find her next book release.
Newsletter: http://subscribepage.com/v2s7z6
Website: https://www.jessicabakerauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicabakerauthor
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Meet C.A. Asbrey

Before we get the the interview, there is something important that must be said; HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there. This will probably be an unusual one for each of us, but not matter what the circumstances, know that you are loved and we are grateful for everything you do for us.

91913504_2857199287668183_6077577237228421120_n.jpgOur writer today is Christine Asbrey. 

About the Author
Chris Asbrey has lived and worked all over the world in the Police Service, Civil Service, and private industry, working for the safety, legal rights, and security of the public. A life-changing injury meant a change of course into contract law and consumer protection for a department attached to the Home Office.
In that role she produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and wrote guides for the Consumer Direct Website. She was Media Trained, by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC’s One Show and Watchdog. She has also been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public.
She lives with her husband and two daft cats in the beautiful ancient city of York.

Chris as given us a sample of her writing, which you can find at the end of the post, after the questions. 

In her words…    Hi everyone. My name is Christine Anne Asbrey, and I write historical mysteries under the name of C. A. Asbrey. My books are available in Kindle and paperback all over the world. My first book, The Innocents, was published in April 2018, and was first in series of six books. Five are currently available, and the last in the series is published in July 2020.
The series is about a clever female Pinkerton Detective who is sent to work undercover to get intelligence on the most wanted man in the country, Nat Quinn and his gang, The Innocents. They are so called because they hit only large concerns like the railroads and the banks, never steal from ordinary people, and treat members of the public with courtesy. That said, they can be ruthless, and extremely cunning.
The heroine is a young widow, Abigail MacKay, with a deep interests in the new forensics, and the new scientific method of policing. She is also an expert in disguise. Nat and Abigail are instantly drawn to one another, as two sides of the same coin – both using their wits, science, and skills on different sides of the law. However, if they act on the attraction it could destroy both their lives. That will-they-won’t-they forms the backdrop to other mysteries in the series.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I first became interested in the female pioneers in law enforcement when I joined the police in Scotland. History has always held a draw and the colorful stories of the older officers piqued my interest, making me look even further back. The very first women in law enforcement had been in France, working for the Sûreté in the early 19th century. They were, however, no more than a network of spies and prostitutes, the most infamous being the notorious ‘Violette’. Now there’s another story which needs to be told!
The first truly professional women in law enforcement worked for the Pinkerton Agency, and they were trained by the first female agent Kate Warne, an ex-actress and an expert in working undercover. Kate Warne was an expert at disguise, adopting roles, and accents. She was said to be daring and able to pass her characters off, even in close quarters. In the only known photograph of her she is dressed as a man. These women were fully-fledged agents, with their skills being held in high regard by Alan Pinkerton who once said, “In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.”
I started to wonder why one of the female agents couldn’t be a Scottish Immigrant. After all, Alan Pinkerton was one. He came from Glasgow. Being a Scot in another land is something I know well. They do say you should write what you know. My work has taken me all over the world, but working in the USA, and visiting the places where these women worked, deepened my passion for finding out more about how they lived. I also researched the tools and equipment available to them at the time. Connections to police, and Home Office experts, allowed me to research the birth of forensics with people who knew their subject intimately. The topic for ‘The Innocents Mystery Series’ simmered in the background for years, and all the time I was researching more and more deeply into the period. I love the rapid pace of innovation and invention in the 19th century. Nothing pleases me more than finding spy gadgets available at the time which were invented far earlier than most people would think possible. Work and life got in the way of the books being anything more than an idea, until I was suddenly grounded by a serious accident. The enforced leisure time of recuperation focused my mind and the old dream of writing resurfaced. It started as a short story which took on a life of its own when it grew and grew—then grew some more. Eventually, ‘The Innocents Mysteries’ evolved.

Plotter or pantser?
A bit of both. A lot of my mysteries are actually based on genuine historical crimes, but of course I change things up a bit so that lovers of true crime can still enjoy playing along. Some are well known, some less so. The more outrageous the crime seems, the more likely it is to be rooted in reality. That said, I’ll give the characters their head. If they feel like going off-script and doing something a bit mad, I’ll let them. It normally makes for a better story and keeps things fresh. I know everyone does things differently, but the story seems a sterile to me if I over-plan. I generally start with a fair idea of where things are going, but even the murderer can, and has, change as the story forms. I think book three, Innocent Bystander, was the most tightly plotted. That is more of a howdunit than a whodunit. We know who the killer is, we even know the next proposed victim, but we don’t know how he kills. I’m very proud of the scientific research on that one
I do loads of research, and try to make sure everything in the books is either historically possible, or really happened. I hate finding anachronisms in historical books. I have not only researched the forensics and methodologies of the time, but even the makeup used in Abigail’s disguises. I did wonder how all that long Victorian Hair could go under a short wig, but modern cosplay and makeup tutorials online showed me that it can. It’s all down to multiple flat pleats and technique.
All that research can only ever be a backdrop though. I like to try to make my characters vivid and as human as possible. Most of all I like to add humor. I do think one of the sexiest things a man can be is funny, as it means he’s a good listener and quick-witted.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
Research has to be one of the favorite parts, especially when I discover a wonderful forgotten crime to play with, or spy gadgets invented way earlier than you think. A lot of that stuff goes in my blog. I particularly enjoy the ordinary stuff which is too mundane to be taught. Things like traveling coping a long way with a child in nappies, how did women deal with their periods, or what horrible things did the really poor eat? I love it when a story flows like water, and seems like it’s out there in the universe just waiting to be told. Another thing I really love is the freedom of working when you want. I’m more owl than lark and I’m at my best late at night. I’m terrible in the morning and getting up for a 9am start was as bad as a 4am start for me. I can now fit my body clock.
On the flip side, I hate it when marketing takes me away from that, but it has to be done. There’s no point in writing a book if nobody knows about it. I’m sure that’s something many authors share, but for us all, it’s a big part of our working life as writers. A writer can’t just write. They have to market, network, sell, and promote.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
I’m currently writing a book set in the UK in the 19th century in which young female pharmacist is on the run after being wrongly accused of murder. She is pursued by killers, and a dogged detective who is determined to bring her in. I’ve also started another which is set in 19th century Edinburgh, and which stretches over more than a hundred years, with the solution being a result of modern forensics. I’ve taken bodies into the old gothic Victorian mortuary in Edinburgh, and it’s too good a location not to put in a book.

Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
From Book 1 The Innocents
“Out of bed?” Nat appeared at the door, the light highlighting his tawny hair. “Looking for something?”
She paused, guilty eyes dropping along with the hand trailing along the shelf. “Yes. Something to read.”
“A book?” his eyes scanned the room, checking to see if anything which could be used as a weapon had gone missing. “You should’ve said.”
“All I can find are a few science books. Whose cabin is this? A doctor’s?”
“The owner was a prospector. Those books are mine.”
Her brows arched in surprise, and she turned and picked one up. “’Carl Friederich Peschel’s Textbook of Physics.’” She continued along the spines. “’Ganot’s Elementary Treatise on Experimental And Applied Physics’, ‘Balfour Stewart, An elementary Treatise On Heat.’”
“So?” Nat’s jaw firmed in challenge. “Have you got anything against a man who wants to improve his mind?”
“Physics? You?”
His brow furrowed. “I’m supposed to believe you’re a Pinkerton and you can’t believe I’m interested in science? I like to learn all kinds of things. Get over it.”
“But you?” She stared at him incredulously. “You’re a common criminal.”
His brows met. “How dare you? There’s nothing common about me. I’m particular about being about as uncommon a criminal as you’ll ever meet. I’ve got a Dickens if you want something simpler, but no women’s stuff. I prefer my heaving bosoms to be tangible.”
“Really?”
“Of course. Who wants imaginary bosoms?”
She huffed in exasperation. “Can we forget about the bosoms?”
His dark eyes twinkled with devilment. “I wish I could but men are kinda made that way.”
“Science books?” Abigail changed the subject. “Are you trying to give up crime?”
“Nope, just trying to be more efficient at it. I’m a modern man. You have to move with the times, you know,” Nat’s cheeks dimpled, “but look who I’m talking to. You’re a veritable pioneer for females. You know how it is. I bet you’ve got all kinds of modern detective tricks. I’m looking forward to seeing those. When do they start? Are you doing it now?”
Abigail sighed. “I’m sorry I asked. Never mind. You have a Dickens? Which one?”

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Links to connect with Chris and her books:
BlogC.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period Facebook, Twitter GoodreadsBookbub
The Innocents Mystery Series Group
Link to whole series , Link to latest book – In All Innocence

 

A big thank you to Chris (don’t you just love her covers?) I hope you enjoyed the interview. The concept of using the “real” Pinkertons in a fictional book is very interesting, and Chris’s books are now on my TBR list. (You know, the one that never gets any smaller?)  Once again HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY weekend!!