Writing a Woman’s Life with Julie Lawson Timmer
Interviews / October 11, 2016

When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. UNTETHERED explores what bonds truly form a family and how those bonds can be tested and strained. Char, a college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But once her husband is gone, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California. While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system, and causes Char…

A Spicy Honeymoon with a Brew
Cozy Corner / September 26, 2016

Fall is almost here, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it! The summer heat has dug in its heels and driven me to a cozy air-conditioned corner with a cold brew, a little spice and a honeymoon to boot—all of them, of course, fictional. I enjoyed all three of this week’s feature mysteries that took me on a tour from Monticello, to Seattle, to Pittsburgh, PA. And all three authors included recipes you don’t want to miss! Put them on your reading list, you won’t be disappointed. KILLING THYME by Leslie Budewitz Spice Shop #3 In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon. Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a…

Meet Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Interviews / September 13, 2016

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them? This is the question that Marybeth Whalen poses in her moving new novel, and she talks to Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough all about how her moving new novel attempts to answer it. About Marybeth Mayhew Whalen Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the author of five previous novels and speaks to women’s groups around the United States. She is the cofounder of the popular women’s fiction site She Reads and is active in a local writers’ group. Marybeth and her husband, Curt,…

Erika Kelly | ‘Rocking’ the band scene
Interviews / September 7, 2016

Erika Kelly is best known for her sexy Rock Star Romance series, but in October she launches a brand new series about hot and bothered brothers. Back in April Fresh Fiction critic Miranda Owen chatted with Kelly about her Rock Star Romance series, her favorite rock bands, and whether she plans to come back to band books in the future. Miranda Owen: What inspired you to write about a rock band? Erika Kelly: It’s funny because I’m originally from Los Angeles, which means I spent the first half of my life in the entertainment industry. And yet I’ve never written a book set in that world. I didn’t set out to write a rocker book. I was more interested in writing about a bad boy. I liked the idea of supremely hot, talented, charismatic man who was perfectly unattainable. Women could offer their bodies, men could offer their companionship, but no one would breach the wall he’d erected around his heart. And the idea that one woman–the one and only woman–could inspire such lust and need and yearning and desire that he’d bust through all this barriers to win her. That was my starting point. The setting came after, when…

A Dream Interview with Mary Kennedy
Cozy Corner / August 31, 2016

I must be dreaming; otherwise Mary Kennedy wouldn’t be sitting in the Cozy Corner answering all my questions. Yet a pinch of my arms proves I’m not in lala land, but rather sitting at my computer absolutely thrilled to meet my long time Facebook buddy, bestselling author of A PREMONITION OF MURDER, Mary Kennedy. About Mary Kennedy Mary Kennedy is the national best-selling author of two mystery series for Penguin-Random House, The Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She has written over forty novels, including a young-adult fiction series called The Hollywood Nights. Dr. Kennedy is a psychologist in private practice on the East Coast where she lives with her husband and six neurotic cats. She has tried unsuccessfully to psychoanalyze both husband and cats but remains optimistic. Talk Radio Mystery | Dream Club Mystery WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOG Kym: Hi, Mary! Welcome to the Cozy Corner! Mary: Thanks, I’m thrilled to be here and am a fan of your books! Plus I envy your background. As a detective, you will have some terrific stories to tell. Kym: Thank you! Mary, can you tell us a little bit about your Dream Club Mysteries? Mary: Yes,…

Woman on a Mission
Cozy Corner / August 16, 2016

It doesn’t matter where you are, what century you live in, or what culture you embrace, you will always find a woman on a mission—to better her life, help loved ones accomplish goals, or improve her community; she is driven to make a difference. This week I have three women ready to put evil in it’s place. After all, crime cannot be solved by man alone—but maybe, a woman hell-bent on finding the truth will do. IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY by Jane Jensen Elizabeth Harris With its peaceful, hardworking Amish population, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a rural paradise. But former NYPD homicide detective Elizabeth Harris knows that evil lurks there—it’s just easier to hide… By solving the murders of two local girls, Elizabeth has gained some trust in the Amish community. So, she’s the first person its members turn to when a fast and fatal illness takes hold, though many believe that the sickness stems from a hexerei—a curse placed by a practitioner of old-world folk magic. Elizabeth doesn’t believe in curses, and when an entire Amish family is found dead, she begins to suspect something far more sinister… As the CDC is called in to investigate,…

Meet Weina Dai Randel
Interviews / August 9, 2016

At the moment of the Emperor’s death, everything changes in the palace. Mei, his former concubine, is free, and Pheasant, the heir and Mei’s lover, is proclaimed as the new Emperor, heralding a new era in China. But just when Mei believes she’s closer to her dream, Pheasant’s chief evil wife, Lady Wang, turns against Mei and takes unthinkable measures to stop her. The power struggle that ensues will determine Mei’s fate–and that of China. First banished to a Buddhist monastery, Mei is then threatened with death for her daring escape. Back at the palace and living in secret, she is surrounded by enemies. Only by fighting back against those who wish her harm will Mei be able to realize her destiny as the most powerful woman in China. This fascinating story is part of a duology that includes THE MOON IN THE PALACE. Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough chats with Randel about her background and the path that led her to write these richly imagined and compelling tales. YZM: When did you start writing? WDR: I published my first short story when I was in fourth grade. So I guess I can say I started to…

Time for a Gala in the Garden
Cozy Corner / August 1, 2016

Since I’m a secret readaholic who loves cloak and dagger mysteries, my choices this week shouldn’t put you at death’s door or make you scream bloody murder. They should make you want to step into the garden where time stands still for your very own suspenseful reading gala. If you haven’t caught on yet, you will when you see my top three choices of cozy reads this week. Come on! The festival’s about to begin and there are three mysteries waiting to be solved! Find the clues, and you just might solve a murder! CLOCK AND DAGGER by Julianne Holmes Clock Shop Mystery Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the second Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Just Killing Time. Ruth has three days to pull off four events—including the grand reopening of Cog & Sprocket, the clock shop she inherited from her grandfather—so she doesn’t have time for Beckett Green’s nonsense. The competitive owner of a new bookstore, Green seems determined to put other businesses out of business by also carrying their specialty items. He’s trying to steal Ruth’s new watchmaker, Mark Pine, not to mention block her plans to renovate the town…

Caroline Angell | All the Time in the World
Interviews / July 12, 2016

“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…

Meet Lorraine Bartlett (aka LL Bartlett, Lorna Barnett)
Cozy Corner / June 21, 2016

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…