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.

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About ISLAND IN THE SEA

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.

Buy ISLAND IN THE SEA: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR


About THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND

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…

Buy THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

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.

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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

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About INTO THE WHIRLWIND

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.

Buy INTO THE WHIRLWIND: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

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?

TL: LOL. I love and miss both of those shows! These days I watch THE WALKING DEAD/FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, GAME OF THRONES, OUTLANDER, THE BLACKLIST, THE PATH, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, REIGN, THE VOICE, THE 100… honestly, I watch too much TV.

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.

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About THE PROGENY

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: Amazon.com | 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:

www.caseydaniels.com

www.kylielogan.com

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

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***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 kymroberts.com, 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.

Meet Jennifer Ashley

Miranda Owen: First, let me say that I am such a huge fan. How do you find the time to write so many different varieties of romance books, in addition to your historical mysteries? What is your process like?

Jennifer Ashley: Thanks so much! How do I find the time? The short answer is: It ain’t easy!

The longer answer is: I write every day. I start each morning, at breakfast, writing. I’ve made that a habit for years. So, even if I wake up wanting a day off, by the time I get to my computer with my bagel or toast, my brain turns on and starts creating a story. I can write anywhere from 500 to 2000 words during my breakfast sessions. That’s very helpful. If I can then do a few more writing sessions during the day (I can write 1000-1500 words an hour if I don’t goof off), that becomes a good chunk each day.

In this way, I can write a full novel (100,000 words) in two months. That includes the first rewrite / revision. That’s two months if I’m not interrupted with real life—usually the work stretches to three months until it’s final, final, final.

I plan my schedule six months to a year in advance, so while I’m working on one book, I can be thinking about and making notes on the one I know is next on my plate.

This all sounds more efficient than it is—I get behind, I end up working on edits for one book while trying to write another. It’s a little crazy at times! But overall, that’s how the books get done. Between shorter and longer books, I can write from 6 to 11 books a year.

MO: I adore your Shifters Unbound series. For me, two of the things that really make it stand out from other paranormal romances, are the fabulous heroes (and heroines), and the strong theme of “family” that runs through every book. Are character creation and getting that strong sense of family and place things that you focus on every time you write a story?

JA:When I worked out the Shifter world, I did go for a strong sense of family. Many animals in the wild are very social (lions, wolves), and rely on family for protection, food, and companionship. I wanted that to come through in the books. Incidentally, I was working up the Mackenzie family series at the same time, and I wanted a strong sense of family in that series as well.

I also like strong characters, both male and female. I try to dig deeply into their pasts to figure out what makes them who they are. Again, I developed the Mackenzie family and the Morrissey family around the same time. I spent a lot of time on their backgrounds. When I was ready to write the books (in both series), it was easy to step into their characters.

MO:There is so much discussion in online book groups about “alpha” versus “beta” heroes. Often a fan’s explanation for not liking typically “alpha” characters is because they lump a lot of negative personality traits in with their definition of “alpha hero”. This kind of drives me crazy because I always point out that you can have a strong male hero without having him be a jerk. I always reference your heroes as examples. What do you try and capture with your heroes? Who are some of your favorite heroes – both that you’ve created and those you’ve read?

JA:I realized a long time ago that being strong (or alpha) does not necessarily mean being aggressive or bullying. In fact, what I’ve observed in real life is that very aggressive and bullying people are actually weak—they have to try to beat everyone else down in order to control their own fears. A person who is kind and compassionate can be very strong, because they’re not afraid of other people. My idea of an “alpha” hero is one who is protective and courageous, has a good sense of who he is, loves those he is close to, and will do anything for those he loves. He’s a caring dad, brother, son, mate.

Some favorite heroes I’ve written are: Ian Mackenzie (MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE), Sean Morrissey (PRIMAL BONDS), Tiger (TIGER MAGIC), Zander (the forthcoming GUARDIAN’S MATE), Malcolm Mackenzie (STOLEN MACKENZIE BRIDE), Egan MacDonald (HIGHLANDER EVER AFTER), Mick Burns (Stormwalker series), and Captain Gabriel Lacey (Capt. Lacey Regency Mysteries).

Favorite heroes I’ve read: Everyone’s favorite Jamie Fraser (he proves you don’t have to be bullying and cruel to be a great and strong hero); Lord Michael Kenyon (SHATTERED RAINBOWS by Mary Jo Putney)—well, most heroes by Mary Jo Putney. Robert Grey from Joanna Bourne’s SPYMASTER’S LADY.

MO: Favorite heroines – both that you’ve created and read?

JA: From my own books: Ainsley Douglas (THE MANY SINS OF LORD CAMERON); Rae Lyall (from the forthcoming GUARDIAN’S MATE); Janet Begay (Stormwalker series); Bertie Frasier (RULES FOR A PROPER GOVERNESS); Kat Holloway from the Kat Holloway mysteries (SOUPCON OF POISON).

From authors not me: Phryne Fisher (Phryne Fisher mysteries); Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs’ series); Zoe from FIREFLY; Mma Ramotswe (THE NUMBER ONE LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY SERIES). Elizabeth Hoyt writes some great heroines as well.

White Tiger

MO: In your latest Shifters Unbound release, WHITE TIGER, a few of the main characters are children or cubs. You write such great child characters. I look forward to one reading a story about Connor and, when he grows up, possibly Olaf. Are children more difficult to write?

JA: I find it fairly easy to write children—that is to say, they’re as easy or difficult as adults. I try to approach writing kids as I would any character, thinking about their individual personalities, backgrounds, needs, fears. I’m lucky I remember very clearly what I thought when I was a child. Or maybe I just haven’t grown up yet!

I am often asked if I’ll write Connor’s book (I will), and that of other cubs in the series. Probably. I many characters in Shifters Unbound, which means many more books. :-)

MO: In WHITE TIGER, with the ranch and everything else, I felt like the story had a little “wild west” flavor. Is that something you were going for?

JA: I live in the west (have for most of my life), so to me, it felt normal, LOL. I did like taking the Shifters out of Shiftertown and having things a little more wild, a little more uncertain. So yes, I was going for that kind of a feel.

MO: One thing I really enjoyed about WHITE TIGER, as well as the previous book, WILD THINGS is that you took the shifters out of their element – out of shifter towns – and at times out of their home state. Were you looking to shake things up, or did that just fit the stories?

JA: In WILD THINGS, I took some of the action to New Orleans because the heroine in Lion Eyes had come from NOLA, and I mentioned there was a Shiftertown there (or close to the city). I thought it would be cool to explore that area, which I will probably come back to. I already knew Zander was going to be from Alaska, so a trip there for our hero and heroine was necessary.

In WHITE TIGER, I liked postulating what life would be like for Shifters who wanted nothing to do with Shiftertowns. They’d have to find a place to hide, to raise their families, to live. I wanted to explore the difficulty of that, and talk about what the Shiftertown Shifters gave up in order to survive.

It’s also nice to not be bound by the setting of Shiftertown. I like to show that the Shifters are more free than laws and restrictions in their world make it seem.

MO: In WILD THINGS you had a psychic and a haunted house. Can you see yourself writing a book or series of the spooky variety with things like ghosts and psychic phenomena?

JA: I had a blast writing Jasmine’s haunted house! To me, houses have personalities—I can feel that when I walk into one. Does it have good vibes? Or creepy ones? I took that idea and ran with it for Jasmine’s house. I’ll come back to it.

I’m not sure if I’d ever write a ghost series, though I never say never, and if I could put a weird twist on it, who knows what I’d come up with?

MO: Whenever I start a new mystery series, one of the things I like to know is whether or not there is a dash of romance in the series, or whether it’s a straight mystery series. Mixing mystery and romance in a series isn’t necessary for me in order to enjoy it, but I like knowing. Having never read either your Captain Lacey or Kat Holloway historical mystery series – is there any romance in either of them?

JA: The Captain Lacey series does have a romantic arc. It’s not obvious in book 1 (HANOVER SQUARE AFFAIR), but that’s because Lacey doesn’t meet his heroine-to-be until book 2 (A REGIMENTAL MURDER). Lacey can’t stand her at first, but as the series grows, the two characters begin to better relate each other. Lady B. turns out to be very good for him. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the romance deepens with each book.

The Kat Holloway mysteries will have a romantic arc, which I think is clear from the introductory story (A SOUPCON OF POISON). Kat and Daniel McAdam have sparks right away, and the romance will develop from book to book.

In each mystery series, the romance is woven in with the main story, with the relationship moving a little further each time. I love writing romance this way—it feels very natural to me.

MO: I was so excited when you broke into contemporary romance with your Riding Hard series. Why cowboys?

JA: I love cowboys! As I say, I more or less grew up in the west (Texas, Arizona, Nevada). I live in the west now, have for many years. My husband’s family is from Texas (they take up entire central part), so I’m very familiar with Texas Hill Country and Austin. I rode horses quite a lot when I was younger and loved it, and happy I could put that experience to good use.

I’d been wanted to write Westerns for a while—I have to credit author Cheyenne McCray for making me get off my butt and do it!

MO: Did you always plan on writing books about the Malory family when you centered this Riding Hard series around the Campbell family, or did something about the characters intrigue you as you wrote about them?

JA: When I first started Riding Hard, I planned to write five books, one for each brother of the Campbell family, oldest to youngest. But when Kyle and Ray Malory walked in, I realized I had two more hot guys on my hands with stories to tell. So the series expanded to seven. Kyle’s and Ray’s books will be the final two.

MO: I love paranormal historical romance and I really love your Nvengaria series. Can you describe for readers who may be new to the series what the logosh are? How do the lifespans of the logosh compare with humans?

JA: Thanks! The logosh I conceived of as shape-shifters who can take the form of animals, humans, or kind of demonlike creatures. They aren’t actually demons; they are supernatural beings who evolved in the mountains of Nvengaria (where a lot of magic floats around)—Nvengaria is a country in the Balkans, tucked between Moldavia and Transylvania. Logosh live longer than humans, but not as long as the Shifters in Shifters Unbound (who live 300-400 years). The logosh were among the first “shifters” I wrote—they aren’t based on anything but my crazy imagination.

MO: I’m thrilled that you will be coming out with a revised and expanded version of the story THE LONGEST NIGHT because it was always a favorite for me. Do you have a rough idea of when it will be released?

JA: The Longest Night is the story of a logosh who can become a wolf (and human) and a Scottish woman (sister of the hero of Highlander Ever After). When I first wrote it, I had a word count restriction, because it was published in an anthology with three other writers. I remember going through and cutting, cutting, cutting! Self-publishing has given me the chance to put things back in!

I wish I had a good idea of when the book will be out. I’m going through all four books in that series, having them re-edited and proofread. I’ve gone through all of Penelope and part of Mad Bad Duke—Highlander and Longest Night are still waiting. I plan to republish them once they are all finished. I have so many other new books to write, though, that they get pushed aside, sadly. But I’m working on it! I hope to have them back out this year, or at latest, early next year.

MO: What are you currently working on? Any Mackenzie or Riding Hard teasers?

JA: I am working on: Next Captain Lacey novel (ALEXANDRIA AFFAIR); a Shifter book that will be out in 2017; the next Kat Holloway mystery; an Immortals series novella (FORBIDDEN TASTE) that will release in a multi-author boxed set in October; a contemporary Christmas novella (which will be remotely tied to Riding Hard) for another multi-author boxed set. (Whew)

After that, I will work on more Riding Hard—I am hoping to write Tyler’s and Ross’s books close together and release them one month or so apart. I will also be working on the next Mackenzie (Alec Mackenzie, brother to Malcolm from Stolen Mackenzie Bride). Not sure when these books will be out—possibly late this year.

And of course, I’ll be rereleasing the Nvengaria series.

I don’t have a set publication schedule yet for the rest of 2016 (except the next Captain Lacey book on May 17; and the next Shifter (GUARDIAN’S MATE), first week of September. I’m actually going to take a vacation in between!

About Jennifer Ashley

Jennifer Ashley

Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over Europe and Asia, once sailing from San Francisco to Japan in a cargo ship. She has now settled with her husband and cat in the sunny southwest to work hard on her next books and drink gallons of gourmet iced tea.

Her books have won the Golden Quill and RT Reviewers Choice awards and RWA’s RITA award.

Immortals | Shifters Unbound | Highland Pleasures | Riding Hard | Nvengaria

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Meet Amy Sue Nathan

Things are a little rough for Izzy Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends—and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman—Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.

Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? Then, her blog soars in popularity and she’s given the opportunity to moonlight as an online dating expert. How can she turn it down? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in-real-life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are. That’s when Mrs. Feldman steps in, determined to show her neighbor the havoc that lies can wreak. If Izzy’s honest, she could lose everything, and everyone. Is the truth worth any cost?

Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough catches up with Nathan to ask about what gets her going, what she loves best and what she hopes readers will take away from her whimsical yet wise novel.

How do you get started writing a novel? What was the inspiration for this one?

My novels, stories, and essays always start with one sentence that pops into my head, captures my attention, and demands that I write it down. The story usually is there, somewhat fully formed shortly thereafter. With The Good Neighbor, it was the first line in the book: “The doorbell rang an I knew it was my ex, just like when my lip tingled and I knew it was a cold sore” that came to me. I knew about Izzy Lane from that one line. For a long time, I’d had the write about the way we sometimes portray ourselves online. I also wanted to explore the how’s and why’s of lying in real life and online. I’d been blogging since 2006 made it meaningful to make Izzy a blogger. The difference between me and Izzy is that while we were both anonymous bloggers (I blogged anonymous for two years) I did it to tell the truth and Izzy does it so that she can fib her way through some of what’s going on in her life.

What was your favorite scene to write? How about your least favorite?

My favorite scene to write happens near the end of the book when Izzy has a bit of a panic attack and an out-of-body experience. That sounds awful doesn’t it? It meant so much to me to get it right, that feeling when everything is swirling around, when you’re acutely aware of your own body, when sounds muffle, and you feel woozy, but you keep going. It has happened to me in real life just once or twice and I knew it needed to happen to Izzy.

I guess my least favorite scene to write was one that I’m the most glad I’d written — because it always makes me cry, and that isn’t always practical. Many readers have commented that they’ve been touched by the scene as well — and it’s when one of Izzy’s friends gets a letter.

In her on-line presence, Izzy tries to make her life sound better than it really is; do you think this is a common phenomenon?

Absolutely. Although the no-make-up, real-me, honest-life movement is strong, there are still plenty of perfect poses, happy faces, fabulous vacations, and smiling families online. Not that it’s all fake, but there’s just more to life than that. So many people forget that online isn’t all-inclusive and it can often makes people question themselves as to why they’re not as happy and peppy as everyone else. It’s important to remember that we all have things we’re not sharing online.

Can you talk about the role played by Izzy’s friends, especially Mrs. Feldman? Do you think that in today’s world, friends are more apt to function as surrogate families?

We live in a world where families of birth aren’t always close by, so I think as a global society we’ve taken on the task of building families wherever we go. You know the saying, you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. :) As lives become more hassled, harried, and complex, we seem moved to go back to basics. Even on social media we form small groups based on similar likes and values, we reach through the internet for answers and support. Away from the computer people also form friendships that function as families. I will say though that Izzy relies heavily on her brother Ethan and one of her best friends is her cousin, Rachel. Unlike me, Izzy lives near her family so I really enjoying writing these relationships for her.

What do you hope readers will take away from Izzy’s story?

The most important part of the story to me is that Izzy saves herself. She has help getting there, but she has to leave her comfort zone, let go of the past, and tread into unknown territory on her own before she can be happy with herself — and that’s when good things really start to happen. (Just like in real life!)

About THE GOOD NEIGHBOR

The Good Neighbor

Izzy Lane never thought of herself as a liar. In fact, she’s always played by the rules. She’s an excellent mother, has loyal friends, and a rich career as a school counselor. Fresh from a new divorce, however, Izzy feels like she needs a little fun. So when, on a whim, she starts a blog it seems like a rather benign indulgence. But as her online quips begin to gain traction, Izzy makes a slip. Somehow a new boyfriend winds his way into the picture. The problem? Izzy makes him up.

What, at first, feels like a harmless fib quickly spins out of control and Izzy must figure out how to balance fantasy and reality. Keeping up appearances while managing an absent ex-husband, two very nosy friends, a toddler son, and full-time job soon prove impossible, and Izzy feels utterly lost. It’s only when her long-time neighbor and surrogate mother, Mrs. Feldman, re-enters her life that Izzy begins to see the mess she’s made. And it’s with Mrs. Feldman’s guidance that Izzy learns to face reality, find comfort in new norms, and open herself up to the possibility of real love.

Buy THE GOOD NEIGHBOR: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Amy Sue Nathan

Amy Sue Nathan

AMY SUE NATHAN lives and writes near Chicago where she hosts the award-winning Women’s Fiction Writers blog. She has been published in Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, the New York Times and Washington Post online, andHuffington Post, among many others. Amy has two grown children and is busy writing her next novel.

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About THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND

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…

Buy THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

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.

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Cozy Corner: I Checked Out A Fatal Chapter, Ripped From the Pages

The various story-lines of cozy mysteries never get old for me. Carving, cooking, knitting, sewing, surfing, travel, witches. What’s not to like? But my favorite theme has always been a story within the story. The mysteries wrapped around an author’s words and bound together in one beautiful package. The month of June promises to fulfill my late night reading binges with new who-dun-its from some of the best in the business: Elaine Viets, Lorna Barrett, and Kate Carlisle.

Add them to your to-be-read file, they’re the perfect addition to every cozy mystery library.

CHECKED OUTA Dead-End Job Mystery By Elaine Viets

Checked Out

When book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright temporarily relocates to her parents’ place in Northern California, she finds that wooden barrels aren’t the only things buried in the wine caves of Sonoma….

Excited to explore the secrets of wine country, Brooklyn attends an excavation of the caves hidden deep under her parents’ commune—and the findings are explosive. A room is unearthed, and it contains a treasure trove of artwork, rare books, a chest of jewelry…and a perfectly mummified body.

A closer examination of the murdered man’s possessions reveals a valuable first edition of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hidden in the book is a secret map that unveils an even greater hoard of treasures brought to California by French winemakers fleeing the Nazi invasion with the commune leader’s grandfather, Anton, among them.

As reporters and art appraisers flock to Sonoma to see the precious bounty, questions begin to rise—did Anton hide these items to protect them, or did he steal them for himself? Who is the mysterious man left for dead inside the cave? But not all crime is buried in the past. When a new presence threatens the town’s peace, Brooklyn decides to do a little excavating of her own and solve the mystery of the treasure before anyone else is written off.…

Buy CHECKED OUT: Amazon.com | Kindle
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A FATAL CHAPTER by Lorna Barrett

A Fatal Chapter

New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett presents another page-turning chapter in her Booktown Mystery series as mystery bookshop owner Tricia Miles finds out that murder is no walk in the park…

While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, bookshop owner Tricia Miles is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies at the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered.

Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history…

Buy A FATAL CHAPTER: Amazon.com | Kindle
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RIPPED FROM THE PAGES A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle

Ripped From the Pages

When book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright temporarily relocates to her parents’ place in Northern California, she finds that wooden barrels aren’t the only things buried in the wine caves of Sonoma….

Excited to explore the secrets of wine country, Brooklyn attends an excavation of the caves hidden deep under her parents’ commune—and the findings are explosive. A room is unearthed, and it contains a treasure trove of artwork, rare books, a chest of jewelry…and a perfectly mummified body.

A closer examination of the murdered man’s possessions reveals a valuable first edition of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hidden in the book is a secret map that unveils an even greater hoard of treasures brought to California by French winemakers fleeing the Nazi invasion with the commune leader’s grandfather, Anton, among them.

As reporters and art appraisers flock to Sonoma to see the precious bounty, questions begin to rise—did Anton hide these items to protect them, or did he steal them for himself? Who is the mysterious man left for dead inside the cave? But not all crime is buried in the past. When a new presence threatens the town’s peace, Brooklyn decides to do a little excavating of her own and solve the mystery of the treasure before anyone else is written off.…

Buy RIPPED FROM THE PAGES: Amazon.com | Kindle
| BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

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 kymroberts.com, 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.

Jane Austen Lives! Thanks to Darcie Wilde

A USEFUL WOMAN, A Rosalind Thorne Mystery by Darcie Wilde, the title caught my attention immediately—I had to swallow the affront that stuck in my throat. The audacity to say a woman is ‘useful.” The cover image of a historical era ballroom, however, explains the slight toward the female sex—the nineteenth century did not belong to us. And the author’s name, Darcie Wilde, immediately brought a smile to my face as I thought of a famous Mr. Darcy created by Jane Austen.

Could there be a connection? Yes, ma’am. Darcie Wilde, or Sarah Zettel to those of us in the cozy world, has created a brilliant new series that embraces not only a historical mystery, but the style and romance of a Jane Austen novel. I absolutely loved this book and cannot imagine a better title.

I also had to interview the very useful woman who wrote this impressive new mystery. :-)

Kym: Hi Sarah! Welcome to the Cozy Corner!

Sarah: Thanks so much for inviting me! I’m really excited to be here.

Kym: I love your new pseudonym, Darcie Wilde. Can you tell our readers how it came to be?

Sarah: It started out as a pseudonym for some new historical romances I was writing (Lord of the Rakes, An Accidental Abduction). Since I love a touch of humor and the satirical in my writing I decided to attach myself to the family of Oscar Wilde (I’m sure Oscar wouldn’t mine), and the Darcie, is a nod to Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy.

Kym: You have a fascinating new release A USEFUL WOMAN, A Rosalind Thorne Mystery, that I absolutely loved! How would you describe Rosalind’s life and her skills at sleuthing?

Sarah: Rosalind is, as the phrase of the time went “in reduced circumstances.” She makes a kind of livelihood for herself organizing the lives and events for wealthy women who either aren’t as good at it, or who don’t want the bother. As a result, she’s in and out of everybody’s houses, knows all the people who make things actually happen and how the social world of London really functions, so when something goes very wrong, she knows how to track it to its source.

Kym: This series is set in nineteenth century London. What drew you to that time period.

Sarah: I am a fan of Jane Austen, of course, and I admit I love Regency Romances, especially the great Georgette Heyer, and, as I’ve said I write Regencies myself. All this led me to do a lot of research on the time period, which in turn led me to the phenomenon of “silver fork novels,” which were a genre that got really popular around 1825. I started reading them, and found them a gold mine of cool ideas that were just waiting to be turned into novels.

Kym: I really enjoyed how you gave hints to the mystery, but kept Rosalind’s suspicions close to her chest. The reader unravels your heroine’s life as the mystery is revealed. Was this something you did on purpose, or was it just the way Rosalind developed on the page.

Sarah: A bit of both. I don’t draft, per se, I pile and I layer. I really wanted the internal and external conflicts to run close together from the beginning, so as I was working out the external plots and motivations, I was able to go back in and layer more internal detail and motivation, and then rearrange everything to make sure that the pacing and the revelations (hopefully) flowed well together.

Kym: In A Useful Woman, Rosalind is trapped between the fairy tale romance she’s always dreamed of, and a real romance with a very deserving man below her station. Do you see her choosing between the two, or do you see fate choosing for her?

Sarah: That would be telling.

Kym: LOL, you can’t blame me for trying;) At the end of A USEFUL WOMAN, you hint toward Rosalind’s next mystery. Can you divulge a bit more?

Sarah: Actually, I just finished it. A PURELY PRIVATE MATTER is pulled from a famous-in-its-time “criminal conversation” case involving the poet, Caroline Norton. We get money, revenge, privilege, blackmail and a look at the inner workings of the 19th century coroner’s court…

Kym: I fell in love with your writing with the releases of TASTE OF THE NIGHTLIFE and LET THEM EAT STAKE, A Vampire Chef Mystery Series. And I admit, I adored Anatole, he was what I would currently describe as a Russian version of the television character, Lucifer. Is that how you pictured him when you wrote him?

Sarah: Ah, Anatole. When he was human, he was an oprichnik, one of Tsar Ivan the Terrible’s secret police, and may be the only guy who mellowed out and left behind a lower body count after he was turned. Now he only has to be a monster when he chooses.

Kym: I was heartbroken when a third book didn’t follow and I’m not the only fan who has begged for more. On your website, you’ve hinted that there might be plans to revisit Charlotte Caine and New York’s undead community, can you tell us if they will be coming back to life in a third release?

Sarah: I will spare you the whole, “baseball insider” version of the situation, but some unforeseen and difficult circumstances surround the rights to the Vampire Chef books that have not been able to be worked out. I have tried all the avenues I can find, but unfortunately there’s been no luck. This is not the fault of the great folks at PRH, or my fantastic editor, Jess Wade, it is just one of those unfortunate kinks in the sometimes complicated game of publishing. I am still looking for a way to make it happen, but I’m afraid that unless something new opens up, it will not be for awhile.

Kym: This is the perfect example of contracts taking a bite out of a great series, but I understand the complicated details. We will keep our fingers crossed! I’m glad you have so many other great series for readers to turn to, like your YA Historical series, Palace of Spies, set in King George I’s court. Please tell our readers more about the series.

Sarah: Palace of Spies is the adventures of Peggy Fitzroy, who when the book opens is a penniless orphan about to be forced into a loveless marriage. She goes from there to meeting a pair of mysterious gentlemen (who probably aren’t gentlemen) to impersonating a maid of honor at court, to ending up on the track of a secret letter that might (or might not) change the fate of the United Kingdoms…oh, I had fun with these.

Kym: I love the premise for your American Fairy series, a bi-racial young woman who also happens to be half-fae set during the dustbowl in early 1900s America. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this series?

Sarah: Reality. No, seriously. Every time I thought I had the plot sorted out, I’d turn up some new bit of historical research that made me have to tear it apart and do it over. The biggest one came when I was researching Kansas City in the first book. Now, I make heavy use of jazz in the books, and the fae absolutely love the music and tend to kidnap or co-opt the musicians. And I found out (and I swear to Heaven above I am not making this up), that in the Thirties in Kansas City, one of the most sought after gigs for a jazz musician was an outdoor amusement park called…wait for it…Fairyland. Had to rewrite the entire last quarter of the book, because you do not let something like that slide.

Kym: Having lived in Kansas City for decades—I’m ashamed I didn’t know that! I’ll definitely have to revisit the Jazz Hall of Fame at 18th and Vine;) Which do you find more difficult to write, American Historicals, English Historicals, or the combination with paranormal elements?

Sarah: Every book presents a unique challenge. There’s a truism that you don’t learn how to write books, you learn how to write this book, and you learn to write it as you go. I will say that the first job of a writer, whether you’re working in reality or next door to reality, is to create worlds that are consistent, thought through and rich, both internally and externally. That remains the same whatever the genre.

Kym: Can you tell our readers where they can find you on social media?

Sarah: Darcie Wilde is on Facebook, and Twitter (@Darcie_Wilde) and has a website . Sarah Zettel is also on FB and Twitter (@sarah_zettel) and her website is here. And, if anybody out there is a reader of paranormal cat cozies, they might check out A FAMILIAR TAIL by Delia James

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

Sarah: Thank you so much for inviting me! This has been a lot of fun.

Until next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym
Roberts
, author of DEAD
MAN’S CARVE
, A Tickled to Death Mystery, DEAD ON ARRIVAL, A Malia
Fern Mystery, and DEAD RIGHT THERE, A Malia Fern Mystery—Coming 2016, is a
retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every
book she reads and writes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About A USEFUL WOMAN

A Useful Woman

Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, this new mystery
series set in 19th-century London introduces the charming
and resourceful Rosalind Thorne, a woman privy to the
secrets of high society—including who among the ton
is capable of murder…

The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne
was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To
survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the
affairs of some of London society’s most influential women,
who have come to rely on her wit and discretion.

So, when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found
dead in London’s most exclusive ballroom, Almack’s, Rosalind
must use her skills and connections to uncover the killer
from a list of suspects that includes Almack’s powerful
patronesses and her former suitor Devon Winterbourne, now
Lord Casselmaine.

Torn between her old love and a growing attraction to a
compelling Bow Street runner, Rosalind must not only unravel
the mysteries surrounding Jasper’s death, but the mysteries
of her own heart as well…

Buy A USEFUL WOMAN: Amazon.com | Kindle
| BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Darcie Wilde

Darcie Wilde

A longtime resident of the Great Lakes State, Darcie Wilde writes her sizzling-hot romances in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When not actually writing, she lives out her own happily-ever-afters with her husband of fifteen years, one rapidly growing son, one cat, and one writer’s group of infinite patience.

Rosalind Thorne | Regency Makeover

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Meet Brooklyn Ann

Love a good vampire historical? Or a great vampire contemporary? You’re not alone and our reviewer Miranda Owen had a chance to chat with Brooklyn Ann, author of Scandals With Bite series and Brides of Prophecy series.

Other romance authors have said that writing a love scene is very technical and it is not the same experience for them than it is for the reader. Do you find that to be true?

Technical wouldn’t be the word I’d use, though there is often a lot of pressure to get it right, to avoid cliches, purple prose, and to try not to be corny or crude when it comes to the naming of parts. I personally refuse to compare sexual organs with fruit or flowers.

However, sometimes my love scenes literally pour out of my fingers out of nowhere and I’m sitting there reading the screen, blushing and saying, “Oh my goodness, you guys!” To my characters.

Since you write a few different types of romance – contemporary, historical, paranormal, etc. – what is your favorite type of book to read? What do you enjoy most about each sub-genre you write in?

I love to read all genres, though my favorites to read are Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, and Horror.

When I write historical, my favorite aspect is that it’s like stepping into another world with different rules and parameters. I also love researching customs and events from the past and working them into a real story.

I love paranormal because I get to create my own world with its own rules. Also since I set my Brides of Prophecy series in my hometown, it’s extra fun to turn my stomping grounds into a character of its own.

I am new to writing contemporary but I’ve discovered that what I love most about it is tackling current issues men and women face and how it helps or impedes modern courtship.

Gavin Drake, Baron of Darkwood – the hero in HIS RUTHLESS BITE – was a supporting character in your previous book, and the hero in BITE AT FIRST SIGHT was a supporting character in the book before that. Do you plan, at the start of a series, which character will have his own book, or does something about a particular supporting character stir your imagination as you write?

Since I originally had a 3 book contract for my Scandals With Bite series, Rafe (BITE AT FIRST SIGHT) was intended to get his own book right from the start. However, Gavin popped into BITE AT FIRST SIGHT out of nowhere and I leaned back in surprise saying, “Oh wow, this guy is totally getting a book.”

And HIS RUTHLESS BITE was supposed to be my last historical paranormal novel, but then it happened again. Another character popped in, not only demanding his own book, but inspiring a new spin-off series, so be sure to stay tuned for more on that. 😀

I love paranormal historical romance and a good gothic romance and your Scandals With Bite series has all of those elements. What is it about these types of stories that you enjoy writing about?

My first venture into the paranormal was with Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles. I immediately fell in love with the rich detailed history with a supernatural twist. And later I fell in love with regency romance and eventually decided to place vampires in that world. So not only do my characters have to navigate the tedious social strictures of the day, they also have their own supernatural rules to abide by.

Every author’s vampire mythology differs in some way – what is the vampire 101 in your Scandals With Bite series?

  1. My vampires are NOT animated corpses. They have a preternatural mutation, so they’re perfectly alive. They have heartbeats and can even eat and drink minimal amounts.
  2. My vampires cannot go out in the sunlight and can be killed by major heart damage or decapitation. They’re also sterile, so they can do the deed, but they can’t have babies.
  3. Their governing system is a cross between Feudalism and Bureaucracy. All vampires are ruled by a Lord of a specific territory and forbidden to enter another territory without written permission. Rogue vampires are exiles who do not have a lord or home. They are often hunted and killed off, though sometimes they may petition a Lord vampire to become one of his people.

In HIS RUTHLESS BITE, one of the characters is a mesmerist – what made you use that in the story? Were you inspired by a historical figure?

My editor enjoyed my use of historical figures so much in BITE ME, YOUR GRACE, that she made it a caveat for the entire series.

Personally I was more focused on the themes of each book. BITE ME, YOUR GRACE focuses on literature, ONE BITE PER NIGHT focused on art, BITE AT FIRST SIGHT focused on medical practices of the 19th century and HIS RUTHLESS BITE’s theme is psychology… which was in its infancy back then.

Mesmerists such as Dr. John Elliotson could be considered one of the forefathers of modern hypnotherapy. And since vampires mesmerize people on a regular basis, it was a perfect match for this story.

What are you currently working on? Do you have an ending point in mind for your Scandals With Bite series, or will you continue with it as long as you find stories to tell?

I’m currently working on the 4th book in my Brides of Prophecy series, which should release in the late summer or early fall.

As for “Scandals With Bite,” I have a feeling that series isn’t over, but for now I’m looking to start a spin-off series set in the same time and world.

Is there a heroine you created that is similar to yourself? How long have you been writing for?

I have a bit in common with all of them. I used to be a mechanic like Akasha in WRENCHING FATE, I love to sing and talk to cats like Xochitl in CONJURING DESTINY, I’m one of the guys and a metalhead like Kinley in KISSING VICIOUS, I’m a writer and a feminist like Angelica in BITE ME, YOUR GRACE, a painter like Lydia in ONE BITE PER NIGHT, and a nerd like Cassandra in BITE AT FIRST SIGHT.

Lenore (HIS RUTHLESS BITE) is probably more different than myself over all the heroines I’ve written so far. However, one major thing I have in common with her is that we both suffer from PTSD and experience the same symptoms.

I’ve been writing all my life, but I only got serious about it back in 2009 after my mother passed away and I’d been sitting on 2 complete manuscripts and countless files of partial books and story notes.

Why vampires instead of werewolves, or some other type of magical being? Do you prefer vamps?

Okay, first a disclaimer: I LOVE reading werewolf books. Carrie Vaughn, Terry Spear, Trina M. Lee, and Patricia Briggs are highly recommended.

However, werewolves just aren’t logical in my fictional universe, where magic is molecular manipulation and has little to do with lunar cycles. I suppose some of my more powerful sorcerers could use magic to shapeshift, but the classic werewolf just doesn’t work in my world. Also, for some reason I keep thinking that werewolves would smell like wet dog.

I DO have other magical beings in my books. If you check out my Brides of Prophecy series, you’ll meet mutants, psychics, sorcerers, luminites, and Faelin… as well as my vamps.

About Brooklyn Ann

Brooklyn Ann

A lover of witty Regencies and dark paranormal romance, Brooklyn Ann combines the two in her new vampire series. The former mechanic turned author lives with her family in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

Scandals With Bite | Brides of Prophecy

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php

FB fan group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/663937110417257/

Blog: http://brooklynann.blogspot.com

Yona Interviews Susan Shapiro

Is it dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over? What if you find him—and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan Shapiro—memoirist, novelist, humorist and writing teacher extraordinaire—explores the perils of revisiting the passion of yesteryear. Lila Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to question her memory as well as her sanity. Shuttling between Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years. Writing a Woman’s life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough catches up with Shapiro to get the skinny on this hilarious yet piercing novel.

Q: How long did it take you to complete?

A: From start to publication six years. But I worked on a few projects in between.

Q: Are there autobiographical elements in this novel?

A: Yes part of it is very autobiographical. But the real story wasn’t ultimately very dramatic. So I wound up embellishing and dramatizing it a lot to make more page-turning as a novel.

Q: Can you talk about the role that humor plays?

A: I think everything I write has my fast dark sense of humor. A book reviewer who was critiquing my first novel said something like, “her dialogue sounds like Aaron Sorkin’s walk-and-talks.” Even though they meant to be insulting, I was very flattered and used it as a blurb.

Q: The dramas and rivalries of creative writing programs are given a lot of play; can you say more about this?

A: They say academia is so cut throat because there’s so little at stake. And what happens if you put a bunch of ambitious writers in the same academic program for two years or more? You’re bound to get several chronicles.

Q: What’s the real heart of this story for you?

A: I was forty when a midlife crisis inspired seeking out former boyfriends for my memoir FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART. That was a (hopefully) humorous take. A decade later, WHAT’S NEVER SAID explores the darker side of revisiting a romance from your past. It’s also about marriage and the road not taken. I’ve been in love with my husband for twenty years so that’s a topic that fascinates me.

Q: What’s next on your horizon?

A: Now I’m working on another memoir. Nonfiction is so much easier for me! Fiction kills me.

About Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro, a Manhattan journalism professor, has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Newsweek, Salon.com, Daily Beast, The Forward, Village Voice, People, More, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.

Sue lives with her husband, a TV/film writer, in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her own “instant gratification takes too long” writing method at the New School, NYU and in private workshops and seminars.

WEBSITE | TWITTER

About WHAT’S NEVER SAID

What's Never Said

It’s dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over. What if you find him—and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan Shapiro explores the perils of revisiting past passion.

Lila Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to question her memory—and sanity.

Switching between Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years.

Buy WHAT’S NEVER SAID: Amazon.com | Kindle
|
BN.com
| Kobo |
Powell’s Books
| Books-A-Million |
Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND

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…

Buy THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

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.

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