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Archive for December, 2012

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Paige Shelton

Welcome, Paige. It’s a pleasure to interview you for MMC.

Paige

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

I love hearing about what readers are reading. I’m still not aware of all the wonderful cozy series out there. It’s always fun to hear about a new one.

The Mystery Most Cozy members’ support and enthusiasm are so appreciated.  

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

Hmm, I’m not good at remembering time frames, but a year ago, maybe two? I believe Jenny invited me, or maybe Alicia Farage. 

How did you know you were meant to write?

Meant? Oh, how I wish I was that confident. I’ve known since I was seven that I *wanted* to write. I’m still not sure I was meant to write.

What inspired you to write mysteries?

 I actually began trying to get published by writing romances because the only local writers’ group I could find was a romance group. However, I hadn’t read many romances and I struggled. I’ve read thousands of mysteries and when I finally started trying my hand at those, it seemed the stories came more naturally. I need to add, though, that there’s nothing easy about writing either mysteries or romances. They both have their fair share of challenges.

What intrigues you about writing a series?

The characters. I love watching them evolve and grow. I had no idea I would love that part as much as I do. My characters have become good friends.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

The first revision. Boy, that’s a tough one. I’m attempting to rework how I do things, though, to make that first revision less painful.

What do you enjoy reading?

Everything, really. To be honest, I don’t get to read nearly as much as I would like. I try to read a little every day because I think it’s important to read if you’re a writer, but deadlines keep me at the keyboard almost all day, and I try to keep my evenings for family.

Which authors have influenced you?

I don’t write like any of these authors, but these are the ones who reinforced (and still reinforce) my desire to be a writer: Carolyn Keene, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Norton, Antonia Barber, Phyllis A. Whitney, Sue Grafton, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, and Chelsea Cain.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

Just a small spark. I wish I could outline or know what’s going to happen before it does, but I’m afraid I’m only able to write what the characters show me on a daily basis.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you – from the bottom of my heart! I have become friends with some of my readers and I feel like we’ve known each other forever – I cherish that. And, I’m honored that anyone takes some of their precious time to read something I’ve written.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Never give up. It took me a long time and lots of rejection – some very cruel – to get published. Write at least a little every day. It’s a good habit to get into.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

I love everything about writing except that first revision, which definitely drives me way crazy and keeps me up nights. Everything else is hard work but enjoyable. 

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

Alfred Hitchcock, Phyllis A. Whitney, Diana Gabaldon (though she’s not a mystery author). I would ask them how they think, how they create. Do they feel like they have their own formula or is each experience unique. I would also be deeply curious about their personal lives and would want to know about their childhoods, etc. 

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Yes, very much so. I don’t think I could ever write a completely romance-free mystery, and I much prefer to read mysteries with a little romance too. I love the awkwardness of real romance; it’s so humanizing.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Sweats. I once heard Sue Grafton say that she never writes without first getting ready – shower, make-up – for the day. I roll out of bed, pull on sweats, brush my teeth, pour a Diet Pepsi, and get to work. I rarely even take the time to brush my hair first. I feel like I’m wasting work time if I don’t get to the computer right away.

As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?

I wish I dreamed my scenes! No, I’m afraid that though I love what I do, it is very hard work for me. I love my characters but there are days they battle me something fierce. There are days I can’t find words to describe the perfect scene in my head. Fortunately, there are also days when the words seem to write themselves; those days are rare.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

My agent told me I had a cozy voice, and she came up with the farmers’ market idea. Everything felt right. However, though I hope I have a bunch more cozies in me, I hope to get a chance to write lots of other things too. When you start writing consistently, sparks of ideas start to multiply. I have an idea file on my computer that I add to almost every day.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

 No, unfortunately, I can’t. I typically read gory thrillers when I’m writing, and only a few pages a night.

What are you writing now?

I’m working on book four of the Cooking School series. No title yet.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

A KILLER MAIZE published December 4. It’s the fourth book in the Farmers’ Market series. The second book in the Cooking School series, IF MASHED POTATOES COULD DANCE, published in October.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

www.paigeshelton.com

Thank you to everyone at Mystery Most Cozy. Your support and enthusiasm for cozies is so appreciated, and we couldn’t do what we do without you.

mashed4

killermaize

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 
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Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Ellery Adams

Hello, Ellery.  Welcome to our MMC interviews.  It’s always intriguing when I get to interview one of my favorite authors.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

I love discovering new books through MMC. The readers give such specific recommendations that it’s easy to add to one’s TBR pile all the time.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I found the Yahoo! Group somehow. It was years ago and my memory has become a sieve. All I know is that the group is wonderful!

How did you know you were meant to write?

I used to write stories when I was a kid. They’d star my friends as the heroes and those gals always ended up saving the day and going out with the cutest boys. I loved how my stories made them smile. That was at about age 8. I was a goner from that point on.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I love puzzles and mysteries are a puzzle. You must gather the pieces and fit them together correctly to see the whole picture.

What intrigues you about writing a series?

Honestly, I need a series because I need my characters to change and grow and make mistakes and fall in love and fall out of love and go through all the things we go through as we age. Having a series means that my characters are never static.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Finding time for all of the ideas I have. I’m pretty much writing seven days a week at this point and still can’t get caught up. I’d like to write a young adult novel (I have 3 chapters) and a women’s fiction novel (I’ve written the first chapter) but I have to keep putting them aside to work on the books I actually have contracts for.

What do you enjoy reading?

My reading tastes are all over the place. I don’t read many cozies because I don’t want to be accidentally influenced by one of my fellow writers in any way. My favorite genre is historical fiction, then any kind of  mystery, then young adult, then fantasy.  I usually listen to one genre in the car, have another on my iPad, and a third on the nightstand.

Which authors have influenced you?

My idol is Agatha Christie. Whenever I get stuck on something I think, “What would Agatha do?”

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

In addition to thanking them for their tremendous support, I would say to keep talking about your favorite writers. We mid-list writers survive mostly because people like the ones on MMC recommend our books to friends. We truly depend on that word-of-mouth promotion.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Don’t quit. If you can finish a short story, that’s a huge accomplishment. If you can complete an entire book, then you can write another and another. Finding a market for them isn’t always easy, but don’t give up. Not ever!

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

I love cozies because they zero in on people and not the crime or the gore or rough language. Cozies are stories about people and their determination to set things right. I like that the sleuths could be people you might know. They’re members of a community and together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the sleuths can bring about change for the better. They can right wrongs. Along the way, they can laugh, suffer loses, forge new relationships, and eat lots of amazing food.

What are you writing now?

I am working on two projects. The third installment in the Charmed Pie Shoppe series and the first book in an all-new series about a resort for book lovers. That series will debut in 2014 and I absolutely love it.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Written in Stone, the 4th Books By the Bay mystery, is my best book to date. It was released on November 6th and I hope you get a chance to read it. Olivia and the Bayside Book Writers are really out to the test in this book and between a witch, a powwow, a food festival, and a possible ghost, Olivia’s world feels turned upside down. I really make things tough for her in this book, but I think it had to happen so she could finally admit that she needs a certain police chief by her side.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Stop by my website at www.elleryadamsmysteries.com or friend me on Facebook. And Happy Anniversary to Mystery Most Cozy. Ten years of supporting mysteries is amazing! Congratulations!

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Sara Rosett

Hi, Sara. Thanks for joining our MMC interviews.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary. What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

I love interacting with other mystery readers–sharing new titles and discovering new authors.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I joined during the Yahoo phase and I was thrilled to find a group dedicated to cozies!

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I love the puzzle aspect of mysteries, the figuring out who did it and why. I also love returning to favorite characters and settings.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

I’m always nervous when I start a new book. During the writing process I’m always terrified that it won’t be long enough, but it always works out about right, thank goodness!

Which authors have influenced you?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon then moved on to Phyllis Whitney, Elizabeth Peters, and Mary Stewart. The first modern cozies I read were by Carolyn Hart and they had a big influence on me.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I know the beginning, the main characters, the murderer, the victim, and the suspects. The middle is always a little hazy. I have to get into the book to sort out the middle.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

My latest favorite character is Gabrielle in MISTLETOE, MERRIMENT, AND MURDER. She’s a rival professional organizer and a thorn in Ellie’s side. I’d never explored a rival for Ellie and the interaction between them was fun to write.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you so much for reading my books and supporting me. I appreciate every email, tweet, and review so much!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Read, read, read! Things are changing fast in publishing, so stay on top of what’s happening. Go to writer’s conferences to meet other writers and refine your writing.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

I love having written. I don’t like the first draft. Great sigh of relief when that’s over.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?

I don’t have much romance in the Ellie books, just a bit here and there, because Ellie is married so there’s not going to be a huge emphasis on it, but in my new series, the On The Run books, there is more romance. I’d classify it as “sweet” or romance at a low simmer. That’s about all I can handle as a writer!

What are you writing now?

I’ve just finished Ellie #8, which takes place during a family beach vacation. I’ve started the second book in the On The Run series, Secretive.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Super organizer Ellie Avery could really use some Christmas cheer when Gabrielle Matheson, a grinchy professional rival, sets up shop in the same small Georgia town. But before the halls are even halfway decked with holly, someone uses Ellie’s terrifically tasteless white elephant swap gift as a murder weapon! Ellie’s now a suspect. Besides playing Mrs. Santa for her Air Force pilot husband and their two kids, shielding her eyes from the garishly over-decorated house down the street, and helping a client who’s a hardcore hoarder, Ellie also has to solve this ho-ho-homicide and find a killer who wishes her a very deadly Christmas.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can find me at http://www.SaraRosett.com, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

Book link:

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder:

http://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Merriment-Murder-Ellie-Mysteries/dp/0758269218/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1351869744&sr=1-1

Elusive (Book #1 in the On The Run series)

http://www.amazon.com/Elusive-Book-1-Run-ebook/dp/B0094HZVWC/ref=la_B001IXRPSS_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1352161606&sr=1-9

Bio:

A native Texan, Sara is the author of the Ellie Avery mystery series and the On The Run travel thrillers. As a military spouse, Sara has moved around the country (frequently!) and traveled internationally, which inspired her latest travel thrillers. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at www.SaraRosett.com or sign up for her newsletter list here. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

Sara bk 1

sara bk 2

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Elysabeth Eldering

Hello, Elysabeth. Welcome to our MMC interviews.

Karen, thank you for having me as a guest during the Mystery Most Cozy’s ten year anniversary.  I’m not your typical mystery writer as I’m in the process of writing a geography (50-state) mystery series and have written a middle grade/young adult mystery similar to a Nancy Drew mystery.  So without further ado, here you go – E 🙂

Since  MMC is celebrating their tenth anniversary what is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why? 

Being a part of the group is multifaceted for me.  I like the reader support, although I’m still a big unknown.  I also like connecting with other cozy authors.  Love to read them, have yet to really write them.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group? 

I don’t really remember.  I think it was accidental about 5 or 6 years ago when I was exploring some yahoo groups to join.

How did you know you were meant to write? 

I didn’t.  I entered a contest in 2006 on a dare or challenge from an online friend and enjoyed it and decided I’d like to do the same thing long-term.  I have to admit that I’m not a dedicated writer as some folks are.  I don’t write every day nor do I put out tons of stories like others do.  I write when I’m truly inspired and go from there.

What fascinates you about mysteries? 

I’ve always loved puzzles and trying to figure out things.  When I’m reading mysteries, I don’t want to know who did it until the very end – I want to be able to try to figure it out before being told.

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I’ve only written one mystery and it was kind of a vision.  I tried it several ways and my editors (two online writer friends) told me I needed to write it as a young adult mystery instead of the way I had written it.  I put it aside and then in 2008 during National Novel Writing Month (November) I decided to pull it out and revamp it.  Technically even though I accomplished the goal of writing the 50,000+ words in 30 days, I didn’t actually do it during the month of November.  I started the middle of November and went through the middle of December to complete the novel, but I did write it in 30 days.  I completed it with 56,000 words, give or take a few.

My first story was actually written for a fan mystery contest and that took second place in that particular contest (that was the challenge from my friend who happened to take first place) and I sent it to an editor with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators who gave me some advice on directions I could take the story so that each state would be the mystery as opposed to a mystery destination.

What intrigues you about writing a series? 

Different things.  Sometimes it’s the recurring characters and sometimes it could be the multitude of directions you can take a story.  My geography series is really the same, each book is a mystery state and the characters are recurring in a sense that there will always be the one person who owns the game playing the game but I’m trying to make it more interesting by switching the characters every once in a while.  One of my states actually has the whole class playing the game.  I’ve written the boy and his mother playing the game and I think one will actually have his sister “borrowing” the game and playing it with her friend, so Matt won’t be in the story until near the end.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you? 

Actually sitting down and writing.  I don’t outline my stories but I’ve completed most of my research for my state series.  Most stories I write are short and have been written for contests.  I just don’t write often enough.

What do you enjoy reading?

Mysteries, ghost stories, young adult, most anything but sci-fi and strict romance.  I don’t mind a little romance or a hint of romance but I’m not a big romantic or have lost that idealism in myself so don’t really want to read it.

Which authors have influenced you? 

None – I tend to march to the beat of a different drummer – lol.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book? 

Usually a few plot points – or at least an idea where I need to end up but I don’t plot out the full book before writing it, except my state series.  I pretty much know which characters are in the story and where the story ends (the state reveal obviously) and kind of have an idea where and when the story takes place.  My other stories have all been contest-written so for most of them I haven’t had time to develop the story.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them? 

I’d have to say Kelly Watson is kind of my favorite character at the moment as that is the only true mystery I’ve written so far.  I’ve been told the story, FINALLY HOME, is written very much like a Nancy Drew mystery and that I should write more and make her a series.  When I wrote FINALLY HOME, I intended it to be a standalone and not part of a series.  I’m still debating about writing more of her stories, so for now, Kelly will remain a single mystery intended for the middle grade and up group.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer? 

If you are passionate about writing, keep at it and remember once you have the first draft down, the really hard work begins but if you persevere you will accomplish your goal.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Since I’m writing children’s mysteries with my state series and middle grade/young adult novels, I have a touch – a hint of girl liking boy or boys liking same girl – but nothing heavy romance as it isn’t appropriate to my stories or my audience.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes? 

Hahaha – you mean we have favorite clothes?  I write in whatever I put on for that day.  I’m never one who writes in my pajamas because I work at home and I also do virtual classroom visits and don’t feel right if I’m in my nightgown while working or visiting students, even though no one can see me.  I don’t have a webcam for my class visits but I would still feel uncomfortable knowing I was showing up in my nightgown and robe and slippers.

As an author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes? 

Not necessarily dream of my scenes but have visions – usually the key point of a story.  Such was the case for FINALLY HOME.  I had a vision of an old house that was calling my character to it or drawing her in and that vision stayed with me for several years and many changes of the story to come out with what I did.  The house was key in the story and it shows on my cover.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime? 

That’s a tough one.  I enjoy reading cozies so would probably like to write them, if that were the direction I were going.  Since I’ve only written one true mystery, not counting the six state mysteries I’ve written, which don’t really fall into a category of cozy, and it’s not really a cozy since there is no murder in it, I can’t really say that I’ve written a cozy.  Children’s mysteries are different than adults’ are.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? 

I can read just about anything when I’m writing.  The reason being is I’m trying to get ideas to make my characters from FINALLY HOME into a series like the Nancy Drew mystery series.

What are you writing now? 

Kind of an intrigue/psychological thriller type of novel.  I was visiting a website last year that had some photos and mini prompts for the photos and several of them jumped off the page into my mind and a story was born.  Technically I started it last December but only wrote a couple of pages and have decided to revamp it and will be writing it during the month of November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo as I call it).  I hope to publish it sometime in the fall or early winter of 2013, maybe even the early part of 2014 – depends on how much I like the story when I finish writing it and revising and editing and polishing up, if I get that far.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories “Train of Clues” (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), “The Proposal” (available as an ebook), “Tulip Kiss” (available as an ebook), and “Butterfly Halves”, all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and … themed type contests).  Her story “Bride-and-Seek” (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she’s not busy with teenaged children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her writing.

For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the JGDS blog at http://jgdssseries.blogspot.com or the JGDS website at http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

For more information about Elysabeth’s other writings, please visit her general writing and family blog at http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com or her website at http://eeldering.weebly.com

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her books.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Linda O. Johnston

Linda, thanks for joining our MMC interviews. It’s a delight to get acquainted with you.
 
 
Murder Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary. What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?
 
I have to admit I’ve mostly been a lurker, although I hope to change that. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed observing the interactions between authors and readers and how they communicate so delightfully!
 
When and how did you discover the Murder Most Cozy group?
 
I joined the Murder Most Cozy Yahoo Group on January 31, 2005. I know that because I went onto the Yahoo Group list and checked! I’m not sure how I first heard about it, but I’ve always loved mysteries, and my own first cozy mystery SIT, STAY, SLAY, a Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter mystery, was published in 2005. Seemed like a good fit!
 
How did you know you were meant to write?
 
I’ve always written. Even as a kid, I started to write a novel–a sci-fi story about a boy and girl who explore the universe together. I never finished it but I found the pages I’d written a few years ago when my mother passed away. She had saved them.
 
What fascinates you about mysteries?
 
There’s such a variety of mysteries, from cozy to hard-boiled, and yet they all have something in common: something goes wrong, such as one or more person getting killed, and a person–the protagonist–who’s dedicated and interesting to read about is determined to figure out whodunit by the end of the book. Too bad real life isn’t always so satisfying!
 
What inspired you to writeyour  mysteries?
 
Since I loved to write, and I always enjoyed reading mysteries, it was a natural fit.
 
What intrigues you about writing a series?
 
In my two mystery series, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries and the spin-off Pet Rescue Mysteries, I’ve enjoyed introducing, in each, a protagonist who must change during the first story from someone who has no interest in solving mysteries to a person who has no choice–and of course succeeds. Throughout the series, I also enjoy providing a character arc for my protagonists, as each comes to realize that, like it or not, she’s going to have to keep solving murders to help her friends or acquaintances. Each one has also had friends whose characters develop, too. And of course they’ve all had animals in them. I love pets, especially dogs!
 
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
 
I generally have a theme for the story that fits into the series. From there, I create a short synopsis that I work from–so I go into writing the story knowing who’ll get murdered, whodunit and how and why, and how my protagonist will solve it.
 
Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?
 
I love Lauren Vancouver, protagonist of my Pet Rescue Mysteries, because of her dedication to saving animals. Her stories have inspired me to become a dog adoption counselor at Pet Orphans of Southern California, a wonderful private pet shelter. I also love Kendra Ballantyne, protagonist of my Pet-Sitter Mysteries, because she lives in the Hollywood Hills where I live, she’s a lawyer, as I’ve been, and she has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie, as I do. Do you see a theme here? My protagonists tend to be my alter egos!
 
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
 
Keep on reading! And, if possible, make your reading a blend of print books and ebooks so both will continue to thrive. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not try some of my mysteries if you haven’t already, and if you have, I’d love it if you’d make the rest a target of your continued reading. J I’d also love to hear from you.
 
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
 
Keep at it. Join writing groups, local or online, to get support for what you’re doing and critiques to help you continue to develop your skills. And never give up! You’re entering into a new world of publishing with lots of possibilities, from the standard established publishers to smaller publishers to self-publishing, so one way or another you should be able to share your creations with the world.
 
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
 
Yes, and yes! In addition to being a mystery writer, I also write romance for Harlequin Nocturne (paranormal) and Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I’ve always said that my mysteries always contain an element of romance, and my romances always contain suspense or mystery.
 
As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story. As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?
 
My characters do seem to speak to me, to tell me what comes next, or that I’m taking them in a direction they don’t want to go. I don’t dream my scenes, but they often flow into my subconscious at night as I’m taking a bath and preparing for bed.
 
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
 
I enjoy reading all of them, but realized that, to include animals in the way I wanted to–for fun, with all of them getting out of any fixes I’d put them in unharmed–cozies would work best. Even so, I haven’t closed my mind to the possibility of trying thrillers someday. And I do write romantic suspense–for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
 
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? (tone, voice, etc.)
 
Unlike a lot of authors, I do like to read the kind of story I’m writing as I’m writing it, including cozies. That helps me get into the mood. But my stories derive from my own subconscious and my characters talk to me. I’m not concerned that I’ll start to mimic anyone else.
 
Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?
 
See my responses to character development, above. I love to see my characters develop and learn from their experiences as they solve more mysteries.
 
Do you enjoy “stand alone” cozies that are not part of a series if written well?
 
Sure–although most cozies I read are parts of series, I’ll read any kind of cozy as long as I enjoy it.
 
What are you writing now?
 
At the moment, I’m writing the fifth Pet Rescue Mystery. I just turned in the manuscript for my fourth Alpha Force Harlequin Nocturne–about a covert military unit of shapeshifters. As I mentioned, I love animals and I enjoy writing about them in any form!
 
Tell us about your newest mystery:
 
My latest published mystery is HOUNDS ABOUND, the third Pet Rescue Mystery themed around a special sanctuary for special needs pets that may be hard to rehome–seniors and those with disabilities, including some with prosthetics. When the owner of that sanctuary is accused of killing her ex-husband, protagonist Lauren Vancouver has to get involved to help keep the sanctuary in business. My next Pet Rescue Mystery OODLES OF POODLES will be a February 2013 release. It’s themed around the film industry and the “No Animals Were Harmed” trademarked phrase of the American Humane Association. Lauren is helping to observe the filming of a movie about rescue dogs and has to solve the murder of the director to keep the film going.
 
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
 
Come visit me at my website–although it currently needs to be brought up to date. It’s at http://www.LindaOJohnston.com You can also friend me on Facebook, or read my weekly blog on Wednesdays at KillerHobbies.blogspot.com

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Duffy Brown

by Karen E. Rigley

Welcome, Duffy. Thanks for joining our MMC party and it’s a delight to interview you.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

Thanks for having me at Mystery Most Cozy and major congrats on the Tenth Anniversary! My favorite thing about MMC is all the above esp the reader interaction.  The best part of being a writer is the readers. I’ve met such great people and nothing is more fun than sharing new books with them, discussing characters, settings and what makes for a great mystery!

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

When I switched from writing romance to writing mystery other authors told me about MMC and I’ve been here ever since. You all are the best for keeping up with the readers, what books are in their TBR pile and what they want to read next.

How did you know you were meant to write?

One day I asked my lovely husband of many years, “So, husband, what kind of stories do you think about?”

His intelligent blue eyes peered at me over the top of his newspaper. “Huh?”

“You know, stories you make up while waiting in line at the grocery or bank about the people around you. Do you think up mysteries, romances, adventure, self-help?”

“I think that I’m in the wrong line ‘cause it’s moving so darn slow.”

“No, seriously.”

“Yes, seriously.”

 I was stunned. He didn’t think of stories? What the heck did the man think about? I mean the slow-line thing took a split second so then what?

Up until then I thought everyone thought in stories. My first clue.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

Everything!

Love the mystery part…takes a lot of thought to pull off a mystery and have all the clues, characters, red herrings etc fall together and make it fun and make the readers laugh.

 Love the small town setting, not that it has to be a small town but a setting in a town or city. Like in Stephanie Plum books the setting is the burg…a small setting in New Jersey.

I love the characters and that they can be off the wall and help solve the mystery. I write/read for the humor. Life is serious enough. I want escape! Fun!

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I wrote romance for twenty years and they always had a mystery element. When I realized I liked writing the mystery more than  the romance I decided to switch genres. Not there there’s not romance in the series…there is! Walker Boone is a hung to die for. A badboy and who doesn’t love reading and falling for the badboys.  But the mystery is the focus and that’s the most fun of all.

What intrigues you about writing a series?

Series are great because people get invested in the town and the characters’ lives and not ready to give that up after one book. Too much fun finding out what they’re up to next, the new characters they meet, new situations that come their way and new trouble brewing. Also you get to see the characters grow and change. Having a love interest is neat because they grow together while solving the mystery. And you get to explore more of the setting, in this case Savannah.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Writing is a challenge. If it were easy to get published everyone would be. LOL This is a job, much more than a 9 to 5 job. It never ends. But I love it. Cannot imagine doing anything else.  And the best part of all is meeting the wonderful readers along the way. I cannot tell you how many readers have become good friends. Tons! Love this job!

What do you enjoy reading?

I read cozies.

One for the Money   Stephanie Plum book one. I think it is pure genius. Best cozy ever!

Truly Madly by Heather Webber.  Heather makes me laugh and fall in love. An amazing author

Dead Air by Mary Kennedy   Great characters and setting.

Which authors have influenced you?

Mary Kennedy gave met confidence to try cozies and Heather Webber is a true inspiration. Both these gals are true friends and helped me enormously.  

I’ve read One for the Money so many times the pages are falling out of the book. All the Plum books are good but the first there are magic. I love the humor and the characters and when I read One for the Money I knew that’s what I wanted to write. I was hooked!

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I’m a plotter. I map out the story first with beginning, middle and end. Red herrings, clues and dangerous situations. Characters, who they are and what they want.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

I write to entertain…a mini vacation to Savannah. I want readers to laugh and say, “Honey, listen to this.”  I want someone to ask the laughing reader, “Is it really that funny?”

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Don’t give up. Learn to accept rejection or you’ll never last in this business and remember all that matters to a publishing house is the bottom line…how much money can you make for them.

Don’t take rejection personally. It’s just business. Write something new and submit it and the only advice you follow is the advice of an editor. Critique groups can be death to your voice.

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?

I’d love to talk to Michael Connelly. He’s a down to earth author and could tell me a lot on writing a series. He’s been around the block and not a pompous ass. And I’d love to talk to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I’m a Holmes nut. My license plate is Sherlock and my cat is Dr. Watson.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Yes, but the romance has to be merged into the mystery. The mystery part is the most important part and all the characters have to be part of it.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Anything comfy. If I’m deep into the book there are days when I’m in my jammies 24/7. I sleep when I’m tied and eat anything I can grab. I don’t even look at the clock but just work till I run out of energy then crash.

 My house is trashed, no clean clothes or food in the fridge and the grass needs cutting, no kibble in the cat bowls. Good Lord, where are the cats!

When writing/promoting books there is little time for anything but that. And I do work at a consignment shop…how I got the idea for Iced Chiffon, a consignment shop in Savannah…so there is that. I need a clone!

  As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot?

After writing all day and feel like I’m coming back to the real world I think: okay what season is it? what month? day?  day or night? where the hell am I?

When writing I’m not in Cincinnati but where the setting is and with the characters. I know…call the guys in the white coats, this author is nuts!

Do you dream any of your scenes?

No, I don’t dream about my characters but after a day of writing and start dreaming at night…or day…I do it with quotation marks around what they say and put punctuation in the dialogue. Talk about weird dreams!

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

 I want to have fun in a story not angst. There’s enough of that on the news and in the papers.  And I want the focus to be on the characters and the setting. A lot of thrillers are focused on fear. I want there to be mystery and questions but not terror.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

I don’t read while writing. Gets too confusing…my story or their story. I watch TV and mystery movies instead to catch the humor and analyze the characters and their movies.

What are you writing now?

Killer in Crinolines is the second book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. It comes out in May, 2013. I’m putting the finishing touches on that.

The mystery involves her good friend Chantilly, a UPS driver. Pearls and Poison is the third in the series and involves her mom, the judge.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Iced Chiffon is a first person book so we see what Reagan Summerside sees, feels, eats etc. She’s recently divorced by a scum-bucket who kicked her to the curb for the young Cupcake.

 I wanted a heroine who was struggling to reinvent herself but someone smart and hard-working. Reagan is rehabbing an old Victorian herself and opening up a consignment shop to make ends meet. She gets sucked into solving murders to save her house or help a friend or her mom.

 I love Reagan because she never gives up. Things don’t always go her way…heck they rarely go her way…but she keeps at it and best of all…she has a great sense of humor through it all.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

www.DuffyBrown.com has excerpts, covers, fun things about Savannah and the characters. Enjoy!

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Denise Swanson

by Karen Rigley

Denise, thank you for helping MMC celebrate. It’s a pleasure to interview you.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

The interaction with the readers is priceless. I love it when someone asks for a recommendation and everyone chimes in.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I’m fairly new to the group, probably less than a year. I can’t remember how I heard about it, but I probably saw it on someone’s FB wall.

How did you know you were meant to write?

I’ve been writing since kindergarten. I always have had stories in my head and have wanted to share them.

What fascinates you about mysteries? 

I like that by the end; the bad guy will be discovered and punished.

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I was a school psychologist for 22 years, and after that long working in public education, there were a lot of people that needed to die. 😉

What intrigues you about writing a series?

The thing I love about writing a series is that I get to grow my characters. They can mature and learn from their mistakes.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

t’d hard to have the discipline to produce two books a year and not allow the quality of either to slide. If I don’t write nearly every day, I can’t make my deadlines.

What do you enjoy reading?

 I like most genres. Of course, I read mysteries—mostly cozies, but I also love romance, some horror, and urban fantasy. I’m not too interested in literary books. Too often the characters are unlikable and the pace too slow for my tastes.

Which authors have influenced you?

Louisa May Alcott, Phyllis Whitney, Carolyn Hart, Charlaine Harris, and many more.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I usually have an overall idea of the plot, and I know who the victim and the killer are.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them? 

Wow. That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. I love all my characters for different reasons. Skye from the Scumble River books and Devereaux from the Dime Store books are the stars, but some of the secondary characters are also endearing. Even the Dooziers from the Scumble River books have a place in my heart.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you! Their positive reaction to my books is what keeps me writing.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Finish the book. Find a critique group. Never give up. I have a poster in my office that says—It’s not how good you are, it’s how hard you try.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Love it! I have quite a bit of romance in the Scumble River series, but the Dime Store books have turned it up a notch.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Sweats.

As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot?

Do you dream any of your scenes? I often dream about whatever plot I’m working on and sometimes those dreams help me figure out what should happen next.

What are you writing now?

I’m currently editing Scumble River #16—Murder of a Stacked Librarian due out September 2013 and writing Dime Store #3 due out March 2013.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Murder of the Cat’s Meow takes place during a cat show/speed dating weekend. An obnoxious judge is murdered and my sleuth school psychologist Skye Denison must find out who killed her before the wrong man goes to jail for the crime.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

www.DeniseSwanson.com

https://www.facebook.com/#!/DeniseSwansonAuthor

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links: