Caroline Angell | All the Time in the World

“Writing a Woman’s World”

Charlotte is a gifted and superbly trained young musician who has been blindsided by a shocking betrayal in her promising career when she takes a babysitting job with the McLeans, a glamorous Upper East Side Manhattan family. At first, the nanny gig is just a way of tiding herself over until she has licked her wounds and figured out her next move as a composer in New York. But, as it turns out, Charlotte is naturally good with children and becomes as deeply fond of the two little boys as they are of her. When an unthinkable tragedy leaves the McLeans bereft, Charlotte is not the only one who realizes that she’s the key to holding little George and Matty’s world together. Suddenly, in addition to life’s usual puzzles, such as sorting out which suitor is her best match, she finds herself with an impossible choice between her life-long dreams and the torn-apart family she’s come to love. By turns hilarious, sexy, and wise, here is a memorable story about how a young woman discovers the things that matter most. Angell talks to Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough about her auspicious debut.

How did the idea for the story come to you?

There’s a quote from Meet the Austins by Madeleine L’Engle (one of my favorite writers) that I came across — “Mother said, ‘Sometimes it’s very hard to see the hand of God instead of the blind finger of Chance. That’s why I wanted to come out here where we could see the stars.'” I’d been wrestling with the concept of vulnerability — not only as it pertains to mortality — but where it shows up in your life and how you put it into perspective as you move forward.

My narrator’s name is Charlotte, and she has a degree in music composition, but she’s been working for the past few years as a babysitter on the Upper East Side. She starts the story on an indefinite sabbatical from her career as a composer. I wrote one of my biggest fears for her — that something she made (composed) was put out in the world and not dealt with appropriately. She wants to hide from the possibility that anything like that could happen to her again — the fear of being that vulnerable and exposed keeps her at a standstill. She isn’t sure how to move forward. So she gets a day job as a babysitter while she is recovering from that betrayal. Then all of a sudden, she finds herself in a situation where the stakes are much higher, and she has to come to terms with the realization that maybe vulnerability isn’t something you can opt out of.

All The Time in the World deals with the sudden death of a young mother, and yet the story is hardly a bleak one. Can you talk about how you found hope in the valley of despair?

The structure of the novel is non-linear, because I wanted the reader to have some relief. I think our minds do this; they protect us, at times, from going too far down the rabbit hole. And that’s not to say that there aren’t desperate, awful times during the grieving process where it feels impossible to get out of bed. But in the darkest of times, I have seen people go through their normal daily routines, laugh and make jokes, say things that are distinctly hopeful. It’s incredibly difficult to live only in despair. It goes against our nature as humans, I think, and I tried to reflect that in Charlotte’s narrative. Sometimes that meant letting the reader fill in the blanks, and that’s where the time gaps come in.

You have a musical background; did you draw much on that to create Charlotte’s character?

I have a lot of empathy for people who are in the early stages of ANY artistic career — not exactly where they want to be yet, but getting there, and having to make a living at a day job, especially in a city like New York. Probably because I’ve been experiencing that for the last decade. I also think it’s natural to get invested in what you’re doing from day to day, to seek out something that fulfills you in some way so that you don’t feel like you’re just wasting your life while you wait for something magical to happen that brings you closer to your career goals. Charlotte and I both happen to like hanging with kids, and find some daily meaning in it. In that way, we’re similar. As far as music goes, I relied a lot on observation. My mom was a music teacher; one of my sisters is a singer-songwriter and the other is a music therapist; my father played guitar; many of my friends are composers and actors and musicians. There was a lot of experience around me to draw from, as well as my own.

You write with such authority and tenderness about being a nanny—also drawn from personal experience?

Yes, a lot of field research went into that! Many of the moments of silliness and frustration and joy that Charlotte experiences with the kids evolved out of my own experience. But in this case, a portion of the novel deals with kids who are grieving. I have found most kids I know to be incredibly present, especially the littlest ones. They exist in a very “of the moment” state of mind, so sustaining grief is not a thing that they’re likely to do – it’s more likely that they would remember something bad that happened, and then have an intense reaction. Those feelings can carry over and come out in something else they’re doing. Little kids have a hard time naming their feelings – instead, they act them out.

There’s a story in Stephen Covey’s book (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) — he’s talking mainly about a paradigm shift that he experienced, I think — but to me the story is relevant to how differently we experience grief as adults than as children. A man gets onto the subway car that Stephen is on, and he has a bunch of kids with him. Before this guy gets on, the subway car is peaceful and kind of quiet. This man sits down and closes his eyes, and his kids are just all over the place – noisy, rambunctious, throwing things, climbing – and finally I think Stephen feels like he has to say something, so he asks the man if he would mind trying to control his children a little more. And the guy says, “I’m so sorry, you’re right. We’ve just come from the hospital where their mother died an hour ago. I don’t know what to do right now and I guess they must be having trouble handling it too.” The man is trying to process his grief with his adult brain, but the kids don’t have the capacity for abstract thought. They aren’t there yet in their literal brain development. So their feelings come out in this other way, in this case, aggression.

All that is to say, I knew the characters of Matt and Georgie really well by the time I wrote about their grief, just from having known many little boys. Figuring out how they would connect the dots on their tragedy was a matter of knowing what their daily life was like. I’ve been so moved, more than once, by watching a kid work something out and make it ok for themselves. It can feel vital to come to acceptance quickly when you’re at the mercy of your emotions, and I think that’s how little kids handle hardship.

There’s an interesting romantic triangle you set up between Charlotte and the two brothers in the story; care to say more about this?

I think it was unavoidable that I would have to address the issue of intimacy in a story like this. First of all, there is the strange intimacy of raising someone else’s children, in someone else’s house, with someone else’s husband. That has to be reckoned with, especially since the reader is inside Charlotte’s head. And then, there is the very real feeling that you have to grab onto something tangible when everything around you seems so up in the air — and that the people you feel most connected to are the people who are experiencing the same thing you are. Emotions can be pretty powerful in high stakes situations, and it’s easy to blur boundaries that would normally be in place.

How do you see Charlotte’s future? And how about the futures of the motherless boys, and the two men who still mourn and grieve for Gretchen?

What I wanted for this novel, at the risk of sounding sentimental, was to tell a story about people who deal with each other in a loving way. A bit farther along in the book, Charlotte says “Love is not a limited resource, like oil. There’s an infinite amount.” It’s a bit of a revelation for her at that point, or something that hadn’t maybe resonated the same way for her in the past. There are writers who write some amazing things about the darker side of human nature, kind of exposés about all the horrible twisted things that we do to each other. I admire them for going there. I’m not that writer, though. Mine’s kind of like a love exposé. (Is that a thing?) And so, moving forward, all of these people are changed because they experienced this tragedy, and because they experienced it together. They move forward the way they do because they still have something to hang onto, even though they no longer have Gretchen. And I think, although there are many things that can’t be resolved over the short time period the story takes place in, that at the very least by the end, they recognize who and what they do still have, even if they haven’t yet come all the way to terms with it.

What’s next on your horizon?

I’m directing a musical this summer for a conservatory program in Washington, DC, so I’ll be down there for a few weeks. And I’m considering adopting every homeless dachshund on the planet, so that’s obviously going to take some research and planning. (Haha!)

About Caroline Angell

Caroline Angell

Caroline Angell grew up in Endwell, N.Y., the daughter of an electrical engineer and a public school music teacher. She has a B. A. in musical theater from American University and currently lives and works in Manhattan. As a playwright and director, she has had her work performed at regional theaters in New York City and in the Washington, D.C., area. Caroline is the co-founder of Racket, an initiative dedicated to eliminating menstrual taboos and advocating for equal access to feminine hygiene products.


ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD by Caroline Angell

All The Time In The World

An unforgettable debut about a young woman’s choice between the future she’s always imagined and the people she’s come to love.

Charlotte, a gifted and superbly trained young musician, has been blindsided by a shocking betrayal in her promising career when she takes a babysitting job with the McLeans, a glamorous Upper East Side Manhattan family.

At first, the nanny gig is just a way of tiding herself over until she has licked her wounds and figured out her next move as a composer in New York. But, as it turns out, Charlotte is naturally good with children and becomes as deeply fond of the two little boys as they are of her.

When an unthinkable tragedy leaves the McLeans bereft, Charlotte is not the only one who realizes that she’s the key to holding little George and Matty’s world together. Suddenly, in addition to life’s usual puzzles, such as sorting out which suitor is her best match, she finds herself with an impossible choice between her life-long dreams and the torn-apart family she’s come to love.

By turns hilarious, sexy, and wise, Caroline Angell’s remarkable and generous debut is the story of a young woman’s discovery of the things that matter most.

Women’s Fiction [Holt, On Sale: July 12, 2016, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781627794015 / eISBN: 9781627794022]

About Yona Zeldis McDonough

The House on Primrose Pond

Yona Zeldis McDonoughYona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her seventh, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, was out from New American Library in February, 2016. In addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.


Meet Lorraine Bartlett (aka LL Bartlett, Lorna Barnett)

A mystery is not an easy endeavor to take on as a writer, and writing one great mystery after another, is even harder. Yet for a few exceptional writers, it’s a feat that is conquered several times a year. Lorraine Bartlett is a talented bestselling author who defines the category and graciously accept my invitation to share a little insight to her writing process with the readers of the Cozy Corner.

Kym: Hi Lorraine! Welcome to the Cozy Corner!

Lorraine: It’s great to be here!

Kym: There aren’t many mystery authors who’ve had successful series written from both the female and male prospective as the lead character. How do you get into the mind-frame to write from two very different points of view? Which one do you prefer to write?

Lorraine: I have to admit, it took quite a few drafts to be able to pull off writing from a male point of view. Once I nailed it, though, it seems like I can just slip into Jeff’s persona like putting on a pair of comfy slippers.

I haven’t given much thought to how I write my various series. My characters are so vividly etched in my mind that I am able to jump from series to series and not mix them up.

Kym: I read in an interview you gave several years ago that you decided to use the pseudonym L.L. Bartlett because men tend to avoid mysteries written by women. Do you find that still true today now that social media has let your secret out of the bag?

Lorraine: Ebooks changed everything. Now that no one sees the covers of the books, the whole “shame” of admitting you like a certain genre seems to have disappeared. I’ve been surprised and pleased at how many male readers enjoy my cozy mysteries—as well as the Jeff Resnick series. I know romance authors who have gained many male readers via ebooks, too.

Kym: Which of your lead characters do you find the hardest to channel? Is it because you’re complete opposites, because the character is so closed-mouthed he/she won’t even share with you, or something entirely different?

Lorraine: Probably Tricia. (from the Booktown Mystery series) She’s so unlike me, she’s had totally different life experiences. She’s very private, and though she has many friends in Stoneham, she keeps a big part of herself to herself. Even Angelica doesn’t really know the true Tricia, although she probably knows her better than anyone else on the planet.

Kym: You have an incredible new release, TITLE WAVE, you wrote under the pen-name Lorna Barrett in your highly successful Booktown Mystery series. For the few who haven’t read any books in the series, can you tell our readers about Tricia and Angelica Miles?

Lorraine: Angelica is the older (by five years) sister. It wasn’t until “recently” that the sisters realized how truly dysfunctional their family was while growing up. So Tricia and Angelica were never close until Angelica decided to move to Stoneham after her fourth divorce. I can’t even say they had a love-hate relationship, because Tricia truly did not like her sister and could barely tolerate her. It’s taken them years to force a bond, but now that they have, they’d fight like tigers to protect each other. Of course, the sibling relationship is always in flux, so they have their little tiffs, but Tricia can now truly say she loves her sister with all her heart.

Kym: In my opinion secondary characters are the heart of a cozy and you’ve outdone most with Angelica. What is it about her that makes you like her as an author?

Lorraine: I love her. She’s the sister I never had. I could write about her for the rest of my life and never grow tired of her. When the first couple of books came out, I got a lot of complaints about her. I had a master plan for her, but I couldn’t pull it off in only one book; that wouldn’t have been realistic. She’s extremely complex, and kept a number of secrets from Tricia for a long time. It wasn’t so much that she wanted to keep Tricia in the dark about her past (and present), but that Tricia was so used to dismissing her sister as frivolous that she wasn’t open to knowing the truth about Angelica. Tricia always saw herself as the “successful” sister, to find out she wasn’t as successful in life as she thought, was quite a revelation.

Kym: I love the fact that you took Tricia and Angelica on the road (or ocean in this case) while their bookstore is being rebuilt after a fire. What made you decide to leave the store instead of just starting a new book with the store being completed?

Lorraine: Tricia suffered a devastating loss. She needed a change of scenery, and I was very happy my editor, Tom Colgan, gave me the leeway to step out of my usual setting. The name of the series is Booktown, after all. But as Tricia brought most of her friends with her, she wasn’t entirely out of her element.

Kym: Did you find it easier to continue on with the story that way, or more difficult with a new environment?

Lorraine: I was happy to have the opportunity to set the story in a new environment. Giving the characters (and the readers) a break once in a while helps to keep the series fresh.

Kym: Did you find yourself intrigued with any of the new characters to the point that they will continue on in the series?

Lorraine: At least two of them will show up in the next book. (I won’t tell which ones, however!)

Kym: I love that you’ve also indy published. What made you take the route of exploring both avenues to publishing?

Lorraine: LOL – The small press I was with did such a poor job (like doing nothing but listing my books in a catalog) that I figured I could do a better job of getting the word out myself. While my L.L. Bartlett name isn’t as well-known as my Lorna Barrett pseudonym, the Jeff Resnick Mysteries are my most successful series.

Kym: What do you like best about Indy publishing? Least? What’s the best and worst thing about House publishing?

Lorraine: What I like best is the complete freedom. What I like least is that sometimes I don’t always make the best decisions—usually about covers. But then I have the freedom to change them, too. (Which I recently did with my Tales of Telenia series.) In traditional publishing, if you’re saddled with a lousy cover (and I have had that displeasure) you’re stuck with it for life.

Kym: Your stories gravitate toward New York. Did you find it difficult to leave the Northeast or did you use a real cruise to inspire you?

OFF SCRIPT by L.L. Bartlett

Off Script

Mystery Historical [Author Self-Published, On Sale: May 24, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940158527081 / eISBN: 9781940801339]

Lorraine: Mr. L and I have been on three cruises, and I used parts of those experiences when writing TITLE WAVE. I’ve written stories set in other places (such as my latest, OFF SCRIPT, which is set in Los Angeles, where I lived for a short period of time), and Martha’s Vineyard, where I’ve never visited. Thanks to the Internet, you can do a lot of research. I’ve never been to Bermuda (and would love to cruise there), but luckily I have a friend who lives there, and she generously helped me with local color.

Kym: What do you have in store for Tricia and Angelica in their next cozy adventure?

Lorraine: I left them with a bit of a cliff hanger—namely their father visiting Stoneham, and that will be part of the next book. I’ve got my outline and I’ll be starting the book very soon. I’m looking forward to picking up their story.

Kym: In March you released a short story, A Dream Weekend, A Tale from Blythe Cove Manor. Do you write short stories as a break from your series, or are they stories and characters who insist you take time to bring them to life in the middle of your very busy schedule?

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by Shirley Hailstock, Lorraine Bartlett, Kelly McClymer

Blythe Cove Manor #2

Mothers and Daughters

Romance | Women’s Fiction [Storytellers Unlimited, On Sale: May 6, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940152969856 / eISBN: 1230001028829]

Lorraine: A Dream Weekend was originally published in the SUMMER MAGIC anthology put out by Storytellers Unlimited. We are a trio of authors (Kelly McClymer, Shirley Hailstock, and myself) who came together because we see ourselves first as storytellers. (Summer Magic was our third project.) We based our magical B&B on the HGTV 2015 home on Martha’s Vineyard. We came up with a proprietor (Blythe Calvert), her cat (Martha), and have even drawn maps of what the B&B looks like. Our second project, MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, An Everlasting Bond, came out May 6th. I’ll be self-publishing my contribution (A Final Gift) in August. Shirley has written a delightful story that’s being serialized in our newsletter (and will be published later this year) called The Obsidian Cat.

We see a lot of Blythe Cove Manor stories in our futures simply because we enjoy writing them. We will have a Christmas anthology available later this year.

Oops—sorry. I need to actually answer your question. Yes, I like to take a break from novels by writing short stories. I’ll get an idea and just go with it. For instance, in 2014-2015, I wrote three Jeff Resnick short stories back-to-back. The ideas weren’t big enough for a novel, and couldn’t be worked into a full-length book. For example, I knew that Jeff would never be able to fully get on with his life until he came to terms with his ex-wife’s murder. It was cathartic for me because I was trying to come to terms with my mother’s impending death. Richard was not happy with how Jeff handled the situation, but that’s real life, and finally Jeff had closure.

Kym: I love that you’ve also indy published your Tales of Talenia series. What made you take the route of exploring both avenues to publishing?

Lorraine: Quite simply, having total freedom. And—LOL—it doesn’t hurt that the money is a lot better. My Victoria Square series was rejected by agents and editors because they didn’t like the setting. (It was originally set in an antiques arcade.) Cozies set in antiques venues had failed, so nobody wanted to take a chance. My editor wouldn’t look at it until I’d hit the Times list with Booktown, and even then I had to change the setting to an arts and crafts arcade.

What’s so ridiculous about that is … the same publisher saw that my “book series” was doing so well, that they decided to publish four or five OTHER series with books as the central theme.

The cozy mystery market was saturated to the point where they’ve now had to make a correction (i.e. stop publishing so many books), which is confusing and disappointing to the readers, and devastating to the authors. So far I’m hanging on, but I know many authors are scrambling because they don’t feel confident enough of go indie. I wish they had the confidence to trust themselves, and their characters, because there is life beyond traditional publishing. I found that out when I was let go from my day job eleven years ago. In retrospect, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Although I was broke for a couple of years, I was able to become a full-time writer who supports her family with her writing income.

Kym: You said in an earlier interview that you enjoyed making internet advertising images. Have you continued with that creative outlet, have you advanced to creating any of your own book covers?

Lorraine: I love making graphics to plug my books (and just for fun). I’ve accumulated a vast collection of stock photography images (and sometimes take my own shots) that I can play with. And I’ve learned just enough Photoshop to become dangerous.

I’ve played art director on many of my covers, but I’ve only actually done one cover myself; it’s for my Jeff Resnick novelette Eyewitness. I found a black and white shot of a pair of sunglasses, paired it with type, and I was going to hire someone to put together a real cover–but thought it might work as is. A year later, it’s still working for me. But I don’t have the skills to pull off a complex cover and I leave those to the professionals.

Kym: Do you have another release coming soon under one of your other pseudonyms?

Lorraine: My latest is OFF SCRIPT, which was inspired by my short stint working in the Script Department of a major Hollywood studio many years ago. It’s a police procedural, which is something I’m not known for writing. I’m not sure if I’ll make it a series—I’m already juggling five of those—but it was fun to revisit the past and play with some different characters.

Kym: Describe your leading man from the Jeff Resnick Mystery series. What do you have in store for him?

Lorraine: Jeff is special to me. He was my first original character, and I played with him in several short stories before I decided to write his first real adventure Murder On The Mind (which is free for all ebook formats). I’m currently finishing up the seventh novel in the series, SHATTERED SPIRITS. Usually I have a cover going by now, but I haven’t decided what I want to do. It’s time to talk with my cover designer and perhaps let her figure out what would work best. It will be available sometimes this summer, but I haven’t nailed down a date as yet.

Kym: What do you have in store for Jeff next?

Lorraine: It’s not pretty. He’s riding his bike when he’s hit by an SUV. Not pretty at all.

Kym: What can we expect from you next?

Lorraine: To keep writing. It’s what I do! I’ve got SHATTERED SPIRITS coming out this summer; A FINAL GIFT on August 8th; TALES OF TELENIA TREACHERY out on September 6th, and DEAD, BATH AND BEYOND (Victoria Square #4) out on December 6th, with a couple of short stories in between (if I can get them finished, that is). I like to keep busy.

Kym: You are one of the few authors I’ve seen that still offers autographed books on their website. That is so awesome! Where can you be found on social media?

Lorraine: I feel like I’m everywhere on social media, but mostly on Facebook (simply because that’s the easiest—and I can put up my graphics there, too). Readers can find me on Facebook (me, myself, and Lorna), and I have pages for each of my series, (The Lotus Bay Mysteries, The Victoria Square Mysteries, The Jeff Resnick Mysteries, and the Booktown Mysteries, and Tales of Telenia). I’m on Twitter (again, as me, myself, and Lorna), Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram (although my phone has such a crummy camera I’ve only uploaded one picture so far. I’m used to my Canon EOS Rebel, and the camera phone is quite a comedown). I’ll be playing with it more, but … being a writer, I lead a pretty boring life. The most exciting thing I do is go junking on Saturday mornings.

Kym: Thank you for joining us at the Cozy Corner!

Lorraine: Thanks for inviting me!

Lorraine is offering a hardcover edition of MURDER ON THE HALF SHELF to one reader who comments on this post! Good luck, and until next time, get cozy and read on!

About Lorraine Bartlett

Lorraine Bartlett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent–whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her in the hearts of her readers. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, the Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy saga, and now the Lotus Bay Mysteries, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).




Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her latest releases, Red Lace and Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery both available for pre-order now!


Cozy Corner: Summertime Crime Spree

There’s nothing better than sitting on the porch reading a mystery with a summer breeze and a tall glass of iced tea. Unless of course, I’m lying on a beach with a cozy in my hands. This week I’m featuring four great novels you won’t want to miss as you enjoy the great weather, even if mother nature has you cooped up inside with a thunderstorm rolling through.

A SHATTERING CRIME by Jennifer McAndrews

Stained Glass Mystery #3

A Shattering Crime

It’s death by Danish in the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Death Under Glass, featuring stained-glass enthusiast and amateur sleuth Georgia Kelly.

Life in Wenwood, New York, sparkles for Georgia, but for one of her neighbors, it’s about to lose its luster…

Georgia’s day-to-day routine finally seems to be lining up. Stained-glass projects in the morning, clerical work for a law office in the afternoon, and waitressing in the evening. Best of all she gets to spend relaxing Sundays with her new boyfriend. But that comfortable pattern is about to be broken.

First Georgia’s cat goes into heat and literally disturbs the peace. Then Georgia’s mother drops in for a visit with her new husband in tow. But everything falls to pieces after a local activist is found dead from a poisoned danish. Authorities quickly put the heat on Rozelle, owner of the local bakery, but no one in town believes Rozelle capable of murder. Now it’s up to Georgia to crack the case and foil the real killer’s plans before the tranquility of Wenwood is shattered.

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425267974]


Amish Quilt Shop #5

Murder, Handcrafted

Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock crosses wires with a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Murder, Plainly Read

Spring has arrived in Holmes County and Angie couldn’t be happier. She’s got great friends, a thriving business, and is in the perfect relationship with Sheriff James Mitchell. The only thing raining on her parade is her mother drafting her into a massive home renovation project—and using their sudden mother/daughter bonding time to comment on Angie’s ticking biological clock.

The house’s repairs and upgrades between the Amish craftsmen and their Englisch counterparts are proceeding well until a tremendous shock comes to the workers when the electrician is found dead on site. With the sheriff suspecting foul play, it falls to Angie to root a killer out of the woodwork. . . .

Mystery Cozy [NAL, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451475039 / eISBN: 9780698192652]


Bad Luck Cat Mystery #2

The Black Cat Knocks on Wood

The author of Black Cat Crossing is back as mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat Hitchcock find themselves roped into another dangerous murder case…

Sabrina finds it difficult to work on her latest suspense novel when her Aunt Rowe’s antics keep tying up her thoughts. This time Rowe and her fun-loving friends have decided to compete in the upcoming Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo. The problem is these women have little to no experience with lassos, bulls, or even horseback riding.

Before Sabrina can keep the stubborn seniors from mounting their steeds, she’s sidetracked by a bigger problem. An uppity local business owner is found dead in an accident—right after a black cat was seen in her office. While the townsfolk think the bad luck cat has struck again, Sabrina suspects there might be something more murderous afoot. With a twisted killer on the loose, she’ll have to round up clues quickly before she or her aunt are steered straight into the path of danger…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425275252 / eISBN: 9780698162037]

DEAD END STREET by Sheila Connolly

Museum Mystery

Dead End Street

The New York Times bestselling author of Privy to the Dead returns to Philadelphia for more history—and a chilling mystery . . .

When the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society discovers it owns some unique real estate, a deadly plot unfolds . . .

Society president Nell Pratt believes life is finally going her way. Everything’s running smoothly at work, and her love life is thriving. Then some unexpected news rocks her foundation. Two members of a local neighborhood rescue program, Tyrone Blakeney and Cherisse Chapman, inform Nell that her society owns an abandoned row house in a rundown area of Philadelphia and they insist on taking her to see the property before its date with the wrecking ball.

But soon after they arrive at the house, Cherisse is fatally shot and Tyrone is badly injured. The police believe it’s just random violence in a bad neighborhood, but Nell thinks there’s more to it and is determined to find answers before someone else becomes history . . .

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425273470 / eISBN: 9780698150690]

Until next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her latest release, DEAD MAN’S CARVE, A Tickled to Death Mystery on Amazon. (All proceeds donated to wounded veterans)

Bonnie Vanak | ‘The Mating Season’ and why Montana Shifters are the sexiest

Bonnie Vanak is no stranger to a full plate. She released two new novels in her Werewolves of Montana series this spring, and she is already looking forward to the rest of the year. In between the craziness of writing and publishing her books, she took a moment to chat with our Miranda Owen about THE MATING SEASON and THE MATING DESTINY, why she loves setting her books in Montana, and the appeal of shifters and fae in her stories.

When I think back to the first werewolf book I read of yours – THE EMPATH (Draicon Werewolves Book 1) – and compare it with your current Montana Werewolves series, I am amazed by the intricate world-building and unique spin you always put on the werewolf myth. What is it about werewolves that captures your imagination?

Thank you! I love writing about werewolves because of the loyalty, the fierceness in which they protect their own, and the alpha traits of the males. When I set out to write the Werewolves of Montana, it was with the intention of writing a darker, much sexier series than THE EMPATH, which was published by Harlequin. I loved writing Nocturnes for Harlequin, but faced certain restrictions, and with the Werewolves of Montana series, since it is self-published, I have the freedom to write what I please.

Why Montana as a setting? Do you have a fondness for that geographic location, or does it just seem like the best fit for the story and characters?

I love Montana, the wide, open plains and the cowboys. I went there years ago with my mom on a vacation and I enjoyed the mountains, the honesty and openness of the people. There’s no pretense, which is so refreshing. Probably because they are all working too hard to preen and act important!

The Mating Season

In you April release – THE MATING SEASON – Tristan is a character who has appeared in previous books in your Montana Werewolves series, did you always plan on giving him his own book?

Yes, from the beginning. I didn’t create him until THE MATING HUNT, and he first appeared to punish Arianna for turning into a wolf in front of Skins (humans), which is strictly forbidden. His character has evolved over the series and now I’m glad he’s finally getting his own book!

I loved your story TEMPTATION. How long before you write a story for that heroine’s brother? I found him to be a fascinating character.

Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it. Justin, who is like a brother to Skylar, will get his own story in the future, but not for a while because I have a lot of other projects on my plate. And I want him to play an important role for series. When you read THE MATING SEASON, you will get an idea of how important the dragons will be in the series.

You’ve had so many different types of magical characters in your books – elves, fae, wizards, werewolves, dragons, etc. – is there any type of magical being that you haven’t written about, that you’d like to feature in a future story if you got the chance?

I’m itching to write a dark Fae, which I will in the future. The idea keeps circling back. I did make brief mention of the Midnight Kingdom in The Mating Season, which is a world where all paranormal creatures can live as they are and use their powers freely. I did sketch out an idea for a dark werewolf, a big, bad werewolf who is very dark, almost an anti-hero, and very, very sexual.

I like your books, and I like historical romances, yet I’ve never read any of your historical romances. What can you tell readers about them? Are they straight historical or do they have any magical or paranormal elements in them as well?

My Egyptian series started out with elements of paranormal. I had to tone it down because my editor at Dorchester said it was too paranormal. But The Falcon and the Dove, my first book and my first historical, is essentially a reincarnation romance. The rest of the series, however, is pretty much straight historical and the books take place in Victorian and Edwardian Egypt and sometimes England.

Authors usually say that the book they are currently working on is their favorite but, other than what you’re working on right now, do you have a favorite character you’ve created or story?

I must confess I like writing the guys more than their mates, and I really enjoyed creating Aiden and Tristan. But Xavier, the Crystal Wizard, got to me in a special way because he’s so powerful, quirky and yet so lonely. All the heroes in my books are alpha, but they have a vulnerability about them, and they may not admit it, but they all need love, too!

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on Navy Seal Protector, my next romantic suspense for Harlequin, and I’m also working on THE MATING GAME, Xavier’s story. You’ll see why at the end of THE MATING SEASON why Xavier’s story has to come next. I gave Xavier his special love for Elvis songs to acknowledge my husband’s fondness for the King of Rock and Roll. Readers can check out what I’m working on and the latest releases by going to my website: and signing up for my newsletter to access free stories on my Members Only page or by checking out my Facebook author page:

About Bonnie Vanak

Bonnie Vanak

After years of newspaper reporting, Bonnie Vanak began working as a writer for a major international charity. She travels to destitute countries to write about famine, disease and other issues affecting the poor. When the emotional strains of her job demanded a diversion, she turned to her childhood dream of writing romance novels. Bonnie’s books have been translated into five languages, including Spanish, Italian and Japanese. She has received numerous accolades for both nonfiction and fiction writing, including three Writer’s Digest awards. Her sixth Egyptian historical, The Scorpion & the Seducer, is a May 2008 Leisure release. Enemy Lover, her second werewolf paranormal for Silhouette Nocturne, is a November 2008 release. She lives in Florida with her husband Frank.

Draicon | Werewolves of Montana


A conversation with SARAH-JANE STRATFORD

If you’re a fan of Foyle’s War or other period pieces on PBS / BBC, then check out RADIO GIRLS for a glimpse behind the scenes of the start of the BBC. Mixing fictional and non-fictional characters, Sarah-Jane Stratford brings the era to life. You’ll soon be digging into Wikipedia for more details!

How did you first learn about Hilda Matheson, and how did you come to write about her?

I came across her name during research—just a short line, saying she was the first Director of Talks at the BBC. Not the first woman, the first director, period. Which seemed quite a thing in 1926. As I kept reading about her, I realized what an influential, yet unknown, feminist she was. She was in M15, recruited there by T.E. Lawrence (aka, Lawrence of Arabia); she was political secretary to Lady Astor, who was the first woman to be elected as a member of Parliament; and then she was hired away to the BBC, where she developed the concept of what talk radio could be. (Anyone who enjoys NPR or the BBC owes her a debt.) She went on to write the first ever book on broadcasting, and developed an outline for effective wartime broadcasting, which was used throughout WWII. History is full of amazing women who did extraordinary things but whose names we don’t know—in the case of Hilda, I’m determined to change that.

We learn midway through the story that Hilda is a lesbian. What did you notice in your research about the BBC and its attitude toward gay people—both those behind the scenes and in front of the microphone?

The BBC was reflective of a lot of cultural institutions in that it attracted creative, progressive people and it pretty much goes without saying that a number of them were LGBT. Male homosexuality was illegal, but lesbianism wasn’t. (There’s a delightful myth to the effect that Queen Victoria didn’t think women got up to such things—the accepted truth is that men didn’t want to alert women to the idea of it.) That said, most women found it safer to keep their preferences quiet.

Hilda was keen on having all the most famous and influential people of the day come broadcast. Plenty of them were gay and it did bother Reith, who was not just homophobic, but downright Puritanical. Whether Reith knew that a good percentage of his staff was gay or not, I don’t know, though he might have been prudent enough to know he couldn’t vet everyone on the basis of their sexuality. Reith definitely had issues with the “morality” of a lot of the broadcasters, but had enough commercial sense to not block most of them—all the better for us!

How is Maisie’s trajectory from “traditional girl” to budding career woman reflective of changes women were experiencing in the 1920s?

The standard paradigm of a 1920s young woman is the flapper—the woman who embraced short hair, short skirts, makeup, and, most importantly, an unprecedented freedom. But many women, especially those like Maisie who grew up poor and uneducated, still desired or felt obliged to pursue traditional roles. In some ways, the war exacerbated this. True, there were far fewer men to marry, and this prompted a lot of women to enter the workforce. But there were also many who felt it was their duty to have children and thus renew the country. Maisie never had a proper family and so wants to gain one via marriage. But the environment at the BBC helps her realize she has other interests and boundless energy, like her mentor, Hilda.

How has women’s role in the media changed since the 1920s?

The BBC was exceptional from the outset in that it not only included women, it placed a number of them in prominent positions. It was also more liberal (sort of) in its attitude towards married women working. But that was the exception, and what we have seen—too slowly—is women’s inclusion becoming the rule, not the exception. Hilda was unusual in having a job that would normally have gone to a man, as the department she helmed quickly became one of the most critical in the BBC.

It’s only recently that you see—and hear—more women’s voices throughout media and sadly, they’re not necessarily given the same respect as a male voice. But I think the continued presence of women like Rachel Maddow, Christiane Amanpour, Audie Cornish and so many others in print and online journalism keep us edging closer to parity.

What media do you think Hilda would consume today if she were alive?

I think she would still love the BBC and the Guardian. She would certainly love the Internet and likely be a huge influencer on Twitter. I know she’d be pleased to see so many publications, in print and online, run by and for women, and the rise of LGBT-focused media would thrill her no end. Between her sense of humor, sharp news sense, and interest in speaking truth to power, programs like Last Week Tonight and especially Full Frontal with Samantha Bee would be regular viewing for her. If she wasn’t a producer on one of them, that is.

The election of 1929—the first where all women could vote—plays a strong role in the book. What excited you about getting your characters involved in that event?

I teared up as I was writing both the scene where Maisie breaks the news to Hilda that the Equal Franchise Act is about to pass, and when Maisie casts her first vote. So many women (and some men too—thanks, fellas!) had fought for this right for decades. Fought—been imprisoned—beaten—died. Women over 30 were awarded the right to vote in 1918, but I knew that, for women like Maisie and Hilda, the 1929 victory was the ultimate culmination of a long, hard slog for equality.

About Sarah-Jane Stratford

Sarah-Jane Stratford

Sarah-Jane Stratford is an author and essayist who has written for the Guardian, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, Salon, and Guernica, among others. She is also a member of WAM! (Women, Action, and the Media).



Radio Girls

The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio…and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC.

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

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Author Interview with Janet Finsilver

What genre do you write in?

I write a cozy mystery series with an amateur sleuth. I like the elements of this genre. There are interesting characters and a small town setting. There is no graphic violence so the reader doesn’t need to worry about suddenly finding a scene that puts an unpleasant image in their mind. It’s a “safe” read. You know your favorite person will be back in the next book.

Tell us about your books.

In the first one, MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, Kelly Jackson, executive administrator for Resorts International, flies to Redwood Cove, California, after the manager of a bed and breakfast has a fatal fall off of a seaside cliff. It’s a straightforward assignment until a group of crime-solving senior citizens, the Silver Sentinels, cry murder. Kelly and the Sentinels work together to find out the truth about what happened. In the second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, a guest is found stabbed and one of the Sentinels, Gertie Plumber, is attacked. Kelly and the Silver Sentinels must solve the crimes before another life is lost

What makes your books different than others in this genre?

I have a crime-solving group of five senior citizens, the Silver Sentinels. The Professor, Hebert Winthrop on his birth certificate, drives a vintage gold Mercedes. In addition to the Professor, the group consists of Gertie Plumber with her cane, Mary Rutledge carrying the ever-present container of goodies, and the Doblinksy brothers, Ivan and Rudy. Their monochromatic hair color ranges from the Professor’s white to Rudy’s steel gray. They began their crime-solving career when pickpockets were preying on tourists. They helped catch the thieves and decided to continue their investigations in other areas that were creating problems in their community. They’re a caring group of people someone can turn to in a time of need.

Dogs with special abilities are featured in the books. I read about a clinic training dogs to detect cancer. They were having a great deal of success. I began collecting articles about many of the unusual ways dogs add to our quality of life and decided to incorporate what I learned into my books. Fred, a cancer-sniffing basset hound, romps his way through MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE. Jack and Jill, two rescued beagles trained to sniff out bedbugs and termites, appear in MURDER AT THE MANSION. Princess, a feisty, bow-legged Chihuahua and retired hearing assistance dog wearing a jeweled collar, will debut in book three.

What are you currently working on?

The third book in the series is tentatively titled MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE. Despina Manyotis, better known as “Auntie,” predicts the future by reading patterns in Turkish coffee grounds. Murder occurs and one of the members of the Silver Sentinels is attacked. My protagonist works with them to solve the crimes.

About Janet Finsilver

Janet Finsilver

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. Murder at Redwood Cove, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, Murder at the Mansion, is scheduled to be available on June 7, 2016.

Kelly Jackson



Murder at the Mansion

Kelly Jackson returns to California to manage Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. While the inn is being renovated, she is assigned the task of inventorying a historic collection of objects from the 1800s housed at nearby Redwood Heights and to assist at the mansion during the Whale Frolic Festival. She’s also asked to learn what she can about the disappearance of some jewelry from visitors’ rooms.

Shortly after she arrives, Kelly finds a guest stabbed in one of the rooms, the door and windows locked from the inside. Then Gertrude “Gertie” Plumber, a member of the Silver Sentinels, a crime-solving group of senior citizens, is attacked. The police question Gertie’s son, Stevie, who is working at the mansion with his bed-bug and termite-sniffing team of beagles, Jack and Jill, about the jewelry thefts as well as the murder. Kelly and the Silver Sentinels must work together to solve the crimes before another life is lost and Stevie is put in prison.

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Murder at Redwood Cove

Bed, breakfast…and a body!

If it weren’t for the fact that she’s replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death…and Kelly’s starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob’s retired friends—The “Silver Sentinels”—are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked…and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B’s annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she’s also closing in on the killer…who’s ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation…

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Meet Anita Hughes, author of ISLAND IN THE SUN

Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she’s very good at her job. That’s why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he’s forty-two and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.

For Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn’t even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He’s determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities, and open her heart—perhaps for the very first time. Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough chats with author Anita Hughes about her delectable new offering.

YZM: You tend to set your books in exotic locales, like Majorca, Rome, and Lake Como, to name a few. Have you travelled to these places?

AH: My parents were European and I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia so I have always loved to travel. I have been to most of these places when I was young. I particularly love Spain and the Costa del Sol and Majorca. The scenery is breathtaking and the culture is fascinating. Now with children and living at the St. Regis, Monarch Beach, I’m quite happy to stay at home.

YZM: There are many—and delicious sounding!—references to food in the novel; do you do a lot of cooking?

AH: That’s a funny question because I am not a good cook. I grew up eating very healthy food that didn’t include a lot of sauces or preparation. But I love wonderful dishes like I love beautiful clothes. I think food can be a real visual and culinary experience. Presentation is important and so is the use of fresh ingredients. I generally leave the cooking to the gourmet section of my grocery store!

YZM: Music is another major theme in ISLAND IN THE SEA. Does this reflect a personal passion?

AH: Yes, I have always loved music. I associate music with different times of my life and it conjures up memories so easily. I walk for forty minutes a day and I always play music. I don’t think I could walk without it!

YZM: Filled as they are with stunning locales, fashion and food, your books could be described as escapist in the best sense of the word. Care to comment?

AH: I am a huge fan of escapist fiction! We all need a break from our daily lives and it is not always easy to get on a plane. I like to be transported somewhere when I read and write. Often when I’m writing I think I’m actually at the location and it’s like taking a short holiday. (complete with a little drama and heartbreak).

YZM: What’s in the works currently and where is your next novel set?

AH: My next novel, SANTORINI SUNSETS, comes out on August 2 and is set on the spectacular Greek island of Santorini. CHRISTMAS IN PARIS comes out on October 4 and I’m currently writing a book set in St. Bart’s. So lots of great locations.

YZM: What’s the one question I did not ask that you wish I did?

AH: Maybe what do I love to do besides write? The answer is always the same: be with my children!

About Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named “One of Australia’s Next Best Writers.” (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing program.

She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets.



Island in the Sea

A Majorca Love Story

Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she’s very good at her job. That’s why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he’s 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.

To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn’t even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He’s determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she’s not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet’s help to give it to her.

As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn’t been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.

Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes’ captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.

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The House on Primrose Pond

A compelling novel about one woman’s search for the truth from the author of YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME.

After suffering a sudden, traumatic loss, historical novelist Susannah Gilmore decides to uproot her life—and the lives of her two children—and leave their beloved Brooklyn for the little town of Eastwood, New Hampshire.

While the trio adjusts to their new surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’ home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most definitely not her father’s.

Reeling from the thought that she never really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth century crime she’s researching for her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper…

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About Yona Zeldis McDonough

Yona Zeldis McDonoughYona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her seventh, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, will be out from New American Library in February, 2016. In addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.


Meet Kat Martin

Last week Kat Martin published her latest novel INTO THE WHIRLWIND to great fanfare here at Fresh Fiction! Reviewer Helen Williams instantly put down the book and wanted to know more from Martin about her BOSS, Inc. series, how she picks the right leads for her books, and what she has coming out next.

Helen Williams: Did you already have Dirk and Meg’s story developed when writing Ethan and Valerie’s story?

Kat Martin: Originally, I didn’t plan to give Dirk a story at all, but at the end of INTO THE FURY, he was so sad I had to give him one! I had to make things right for him and Meg. (smile here)

HW: Do you find it difficult to continue a series or does each story flow right into your next story?

KM: Sometimes the stories flow, as with INTO THE WHIRLWIND, where I knew the characters, immediately realized the kind of threat Meg might have to face could involve her child. Other times, I struggle, which I am doing now on a new project.

HW: Since some of your characters have some sort of military or special ops background is this from experience or do you just enjoy these types of stories?

KM: No special background, except that I live in a family of mostly men. Some have had military experience, all are very supportive of men in the service. I have a high respect for the military and I believe the kind of background a former soldier has makes him a good candidate for a hero.

HW: When you decide on a story what comes first — the character or the storyline?

KM: It can go either way. In WHIRLWIND, I knew Dirk and Meg from Into the Fury so the story came as a result of what happened in that book. In FURY, Ethan Brodie’s story, I knew the setting would be Seattle and that the hero would be related to the Brodie brothers of Alaska. But actually that book started more with story. I thought a book revolving around a group of beautiful lingerie models and hot bodyguards would be interesting and fun.

HW: How do you decide what makes a good story for the characters?

KM: I wish I could tell you. As I said, story and character go hand in hand for me. One has to fit the other. I really have no idea how I decide, just little elements that have to come together.

HW: How long does it take to develop and then write the story?

KM: I spend a total of six months writing a novel and I work pretty much every day.

HW: Looking forward to Luke’s story in February 2017 — will there be more?

KM: Luke’s story, INTO THE FIRESTORM, turned out to be one of my personal favorites (so is Whirlwind. I loved Dirk and Meg together). After that I’m heading to Texas for a trilogy that begins with BEYOND REASON, out in June of 2017. Multi-millionaire, Lincoln Cain goes head to head with Carly Drake, a woman determined to compete in a man’s world.

HW: Do you plan to write anymore stories in the Against Series/Raines of Wind Canyon?

KM: I think the Texas Trilogy will be a little more along those lines. Two brothers, Linc and Josh Cain, and Cain’s business partner, Beau Reese. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to get those three written.

About Kat Martin

Kat Martin

For New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, a career in real estate led her down the road to romance.

Through real estate, Kat found her own perfect match–her husband, Western author Larry Jay Martin.

“We were on opposing sides of a transaction–I represented the seller and he represented the buyer,” Kat recalls.

A short time after the two became acquainted, Larry asked her to read an unpublished manuscript of an historical western he’d written. Kat fell in love with both the book and the author!

“It was quite a romantic story,” she admits. “I’d still like to see it get published.” Then, after doing some editing for her future husband, she thought she’d try her own hand at writing.

Kat moved on to become the bestselling author of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date, 15 million copies of her books are in print, and she’s been published around the globe, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, Estonia, Lithuania, South Africa, Italy, Poland, Thailand, Portugal, Turkey, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Argentina, Estonia, Czech Republic and Greece.

When she’s not writing, Kat also enjoys skiing and traveling, particularly to Europe. Currently, she’s busy writing her next book.

Raines of Wind Canyon | Brodies of Alaska | BOSS, Inc. | Trask Family



Into the Whirlwind

A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a private investigator, no one can handle the heat like the men of BOSS, Inc.

Megan O’Brien is at her wit’s end. Her three-year-old son has been kidnapped. No police, says the ransom demand. Fearing for her son’s life, Meg has no choice but to turn to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds.

Dirk’s never forgiven Meg for the way she left him after their brief affair. But with bounty hunter Luke Brodie on his side, Dirk knows he’s got to help Meg rescue her son.

The few clues they’ve gathered send them spiraling into a murky world of big banking and international crime. Meg may be way out of her depths, but she’s seeing a side of Dirk she never suspected—one no woman could possibly resist.

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Tosca Lee | On The Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Traveling, and Suspense

Tosca Lee, author of THE PROGENY, sits down with Fresh Fiction reviewer Debbie Wiley to talk about her new thriller.

Debbie Wiley: Hi, Tosca! Thank you for joining us today at Fresh Fiction! I absolutely love the concept of THE PROGENY as it combines the modern day with the historical in one phenomenal conspiracy-laden thriller. What sparked your interest in Elisabeth Bathory and inspired the writing of THE PROGENY?

Tosca Lee: Hi, Debbie! Thank you—and thank you for having me on Fresh Fiction! I’ve been wanting to write a thriller like this for a while. It was actually a fan who wrote to me and said, “What about a book on Elizabeth Bathory?” Though this book isn’t about Elizabeth Bathory herself per se, the legend of the “Blood Countess” does provide the mythological underpinning of the story about her modern-day descendants.

DW: THE PROGENY is obviously very well researched, from the historical aspects to the very settings themselves. What was one of your favorite moments in researching THE PROGENY?

TL: My favorite part was going to Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Italy—and taking my mom with me. I get a lot of my wanderlust from her (I swear, five minutes after I asked her to go she was already packing her bag). So we tromped all over from the ruins of the castle where Bathory spent her final years (literally walled up in a room), to the church her family built on their ancestral lands an hour from the Ukranian border, to ruin pubs in Budapest and the beautiful coast of Opatija, Croatia. We love traveling together, and it was another adventure to add to our book of memories. But the other thing is that my mother is a lifelong genealogist and while I was researching and writing this book, I learned that I’m distantly related to Bathory—something I had not known before. Crazy!

DW: What was the most fascinating or unusual thing you learned while researching Elisabeth Bathory?

TL: She’s been portrayed throughout history and by Hollywood as this female Dracula who bathed in the blood of virgins and killed 600-some victims… but what many don’t know is that she was quite singular for her time. She wasn’t only literate but spoke several languages, went to church, supported the arts and local ministries, was known to be a caring mother, and was also extremely wealthy. So wealthy, in fact, that the crown owed her an exorbitant amount of money. When her husband, who was a national war hero, died, she began to call in many of those debts. Add all that to the fact that she was a Protestant living under a Catholic, Habsburg king… and I think there’s a good conspiracy theory there.

DW: You’ve written books both as the sole author and as a collaborating author (such as with Ted Dekker). Does the writing process differ, and if so then how?

TL: It does for sure. Co-writing can take a great deal of time—at least at the beginning while you’re learning your process as a team—to talk through premise, theme, plot. To write and rewrite in order to combine your voices. It’s a great process, especially when you can get two authors together who bring complementary strengths to the table. Solo writing can be faster, and while it doesn’t require compromise with a partner, you are out there on your own, having to do it all. So they both have their perks and challenges.

DW: I love the references to FIREFLY and ROSWELL in THE PROGENY! What are some of your favorite tv shows?


DW: And to follow up with the prior question, I caught the reference to a Steven James novel (he’s on my TBR pile). Who are some of your favorite authors, particularly those who have inspired your own writing?

TL: So the Steven James reference is an inside joke because he has a character reading a Tosca Lee book in one of his novels. 😀 We’re friends and he is literally a master storyteller (he has a master’s degree in storytelling!). I’m privileged to call a lot of brilliant authors friends—I’m always afraid to name names without fear of getting killed for forgetting someone (especially because you know every thriller or mystery author has a perfect murder inside him or her). Steven James, Ronie Kendig, Nicole Baart, Ariel Lawhon, J.T. Ellison are some off the top of my mind who inspire me by just doing what they do. They write a book, take a breath, and by day’s end they’ve plunged into a new one. New friends like Mary Weber, Maria V. Snyder, Scott Sigler—I’m just inspired by their examples.

These are authors with longevity, putting out great story after great story, or newer authors pushing the boundaries of the changing industry.

DW: The ending cliffhanger scene has me anxious for the next book! Can you give us any hints about that scene or tease us a bit with what you have on your plate for the future?

TL: The next book is done and in edits right now—and comes out in February! I can tell you that Emily/Audra is back, badder than ever. Questions will be answered, lives will be lost, and Audra goes up against impossible odds—with a few more twists along the way. :)

About Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee is a New York Times best-selling novelist whose works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with best-selling author Ted Dekker. Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ will release February 2013. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest.



The Progeny

New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding the most notorious female serial killer of all time. A fast-paced thriller for fans of Lee’s Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and BBC America’s hit series Orphan Black.

Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

Buy THE PROGENY: | Kindle
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Irish’d for a New Cozy from Kylie Logan

And it came true!

Kylie Logan is just one of the many pseudonyms used by National Bestselling Author, Casey Daniels. To the enjoyment of many, she released a brand new series in May that will wet your whistle and change your palate. I was delighted when she accepted my invitation for an interview at the Cozy Corner. Please welcome, Kylie/Casey!

Kym: Hi Casey! Welcome to the Cozy Corner!

Casey: Thank you! It’s always fun to be here.

Kym: You’ve written under a lot of different pseudonyms, can you tell us a little bit about each one, and what defines her?

Casey: There have been a lot of them (probably more than anyone suspects) so I’ll just concentrate on the two most recent. One of them is Casey Daniels. Casey writes the Pepper Martin mysteries about a woman who works at a historic cemetery and solves mysteries for the ghosts there. They are light, funny, sassy. The other name I’m writing under these days is Kylie Logan. Kylie writes more traditional mysteries (no paranormal elements) in the cozy tradition. So far, she’s written the Button Box mysteries and the Chili Cook-off mysteries (neither series is around anymore) along with two series that are ongoing-the League of Literary Ladies and the Ethnic Eats mysteries.

Kym: You have a fascinating new release you wrote under the pen-name Kylie Logan titled IRISH STEWED, An Ethnic Eats Mystery. Can you tell our readers about your heroine, Larel Inwood?

Casey: Laurel is an interesting woman. She started out life in the foster system and consequently, is used to being on her own, making her own decisions and her own way. When she was a teenager, she was taken in by a foster mother named Nina who taught her to love good food and to appreciate hard word. Years later, Laurel became the personal chef of a Hollywood superstar. I won’t go into details, let’s just say that things didn’t work out the way Laurel hoped. At loose ends, Laurel goes to Hubbard, Ohio (the suburb of a small town!) to help Nina’s sister run what Laurel’s always been told was a classy restaurant. Only when she gets there, she finds out that Sophie’s is a greasy spoon diner in an old train station. Business is dying thanks to all the new trendy places in the area, and Laurel’s got to think fast if she’s going to save the restaurant. It would be easier without the smothering interference of Declan Fury who runs the Irish gift shop across the street. Declan is part of huge, crazy family and family is something Laurel doesn’t understand. And then there’s the body that Laurel finds her first day on the job. That complicates things, too!

Kym: There’s always a secondary character that readers love and you have a great cast of supporting characters, from Laurel’s aunt Sophie to Declan Fury-shop owner, suspect, and charmer extraordinaire. Who got under your skin the most? Who did you identify with, and who has a tendency to steal the show if you allow her/him to?

Casey : Oh, I’m pretty sure Declan could steal the show-or anything else!-if I let him get away with it. You’re right, he is a charmer and that made him fun to write. But Sophie’s pretty charming in her own way, too. She likes to play the old lady card to get her way, but she’s cagy and clever, the perfect sidekick!

Kym: The series is set in a “run-down greasy spoon” in Hubbard, Ohio that immediately made me think of Harvey’s at Kansas City’s Union Station. Harvey’s, however might be the type of restaurant your heroine was looking for when she packed her bags and moved to Hubbard;) Tell us a little bit about the diner Laurel is determined to rescue.

Casey: Sophie bought the Terminal at the Tracks years before Laurel arrived in town. It’s one of those small town staples, a place where people gather after bowling or church on Sundays. And Sophie loves the place with her whole heart. Laurel, not so much. The décor is outdated, and so is the menu. Fried baloney? Meatballs and rice? For a woman used to working with the finest ingredients and all the trendiest cuisines, this is a come down, indeed! But there is real heart at Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks. The guys who lost their jobs when their factory moved to Mexico gather there every day for lunch. Families still stop by after softball games and to celebrate birthdays. If only Laurel could think of a way to attract more attention to the diner (a way that doesn’t include a murder victim) she might be able to help Sophie keep the place afloat. That way comes to her in a flash of inspiration-ethnic foods! Everyone’s comfort food favorites. And with charming, handsome, maddening Declan always hanging around, it’s no wonder she chooses to start with Irish food!

Kym: What was the biggest challenge you had to over-come with this book?

Casey: Good question because every book has its own set of challenges. With “Irish Stewed” I think a big part of the challenge was getting Declan’s family right. He’s part of this huge, chaotic Irish family, and maybe it’s no coincidence that my husband comes from a huge, chaotic Irish family. That certainly helped me with the research! Coming up with trend cuisines and recipes that Laurel tries out at the Terminal was hard, too, because I am not a cooker of fancy food. Tonight, it’s pork chops. Last night was red beans and rice. It’s hard for me to relate to exotic ingredients.

Kym: Your stories gravitate toward cooking and Ohio. Is that because of your love of the two, the genre, or something else?

Casey: Ohio is a natural because it’s the only place I’ve ever lived. And there are so many cool places to write about! In the Pepper Martin books, its historic Ohio cemeteries, and there are so many and they are endlessly fascinating to me. In the Kylie books, I write about the Lake Erie islands (League of Literary Ladies) and of course, the small town in Ethnic Eats. As for the food connection, I’ve already confessed that I’m not much of a cook. But like so many other people, I sure like reading about food and thinking that someday, maybe someday, I’ll try out all the delicious recipes I come across.

Kym: Can you tell us a little bit about your next Ethnic Eats Mystery, French Fried?

Casey: What fun it was to get into the whole French culture thing! In “French Fried” we meet a friend of Sophie’s who came to this country from France years ago. She’s got secrets, and so do some of the other people who happen to be in town, including a bestselling romance novelist, a man who’s an expert on the Statue of Liberty and someone who doesn’t want one whisper of his past to get out. Laurel’s going to have to her hands full, that’s for sure!

Kym: Do you have another release coming soon under one of your other pseudonyms?

Casey: Yes, the 10 th Pepper Martin mystery will be published by Severn House Publishers this fall. It’s called “Graveyard Shift” and in it, Pepper has a chance to work with legendary lawman, Eliot Ness.

Kym: I have not read your Pepper Martin mysteries with paranormal elements, but am totally intrigued by the series. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?

Casey: I happen to have a special place in my heart for these books and for Pepper. To tell the truth, in book #1, she was pretty shallow and self-centered. She’s the daughter of a cosmetic surgeon who went to prison for Medicare fraud and when he did, Pepper’s spoiled lifestyle went down the drain. Forced to (gasp!) get a job, she takes the only one she can find, as a tour guide in a historic cemetery. As if that’s not bad enough, she finds out she can see the ghosts there and since she’s the only one who can, they go to her for help. Over the course of nine books, she’s really grown up and she’s worked with a dead Mafia don, a novelist, a prison warden and even a dead president! As I mentioned earlier, in this latest book, she’s working side by side with Eliot Ness who in addition to being the leader of the Untouchables in Chicago, was once Safety Director of Cleveland. Pepper’s chip-on-his-shoulder, tough-as-nails cop boyfriend, Quinn, is back and there’s a new and far more annoying man in her life, too, Caleb Beauchamp, a country boy who knows more about the paranormal than he should.

Kym: What’s next on your calendar?

Casey: Something really different-under the Casey Daniels name, I’m writing my first historical mystery! Tentative title is “Miss Barnum and the Feejee Mermaid Murders” and it’s about a (fictitious) sister of PT Barnum who works with him at his American Museum in New York City. Talk about research! What do I know about New York in 1842? Truth is, not much, but I do know a delicious setting when I see one and a museum filled with mummies, “freaks,” ancient statues, and performing seals sounded too good to pass up. I don’t have a firm date yet, but I’m thinking the book will be out in mid-2017.

Kym: Where can you be found on social media?

Casey: I’ve got Facebook pages under both names, and a website for each persona:

Where all my books are listed.

Kym: Thank you for joining us at the Cozy Corner!

Casey: Thank you for the opportunity! It’s always great to check in with readers!

About Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan is a pseudonym used by Casey Daniels. She’s the author of several mystery series. As the daughter of a Cleveland Police detective and head of security for the Cleveland Library System, she came by her love of cops and books naturally.

Chili Cook-off | League of Literary Ladies | Ethnic Eats


***Casey is giving away one copy of And Then There Were Nuns, her latest League of Literary Ladies Mystery to one of our fab readers who comments on this post, and a copy of Irished Stewed, An Ethnic Eats Mystery to another reader who comments! How awesome is that!***

Good Luck and until next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web at, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Author of DEAD MAN’S CARVE, A Tickled to Death Mystery and DEAD ON ARRIVAL, A Malia Fern Mystery.