A Soccer Playing Mom Who Solves Mysteries with Judith Arnold

Romance author Judith Arnold has given writing mysteries a try and she likes it so much that happily for readers like us she’s going to keep doing it.

Judith ArnoldI was going to use a line about kicking balls in the title of this episode but thought better of it. 😉

Judith’s amateur sleuth, Lainey Lovett, is a middle-aged teacher, a widow, a mom, and a ball-kicking soccer player.

Literally.

She uses her soccer skills to remain a member of her beloved Rockettes team, and also to take down the bad guys in these cozy mysteries.

In the intro, I mention that It’s A Mystery Podcast will be on hiatus for a few weeks while I pick up my microphone and move across Canada, back to my home province of BC. I plan to be back with the show in early November. Until then please enjoy this interview with the lovely Judith Arnold.

And happy reading!

You can find out more about today’s guest, Judith Arnold, and all her books on her website JudithArnold.com. You can also find her on Twitter @Judith_Arnold.

Click on any of the book covers to go to Judith’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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The Book That Almost Wasn’t

It’s a Mystery Podcast guest Nancy Jill Thames offers us a guest post today about the origins of her latest book in the Jillian Bradley series.

Nancy Jill Thames guest postWhen I first started publishing books in 2010, I could produce two books a year – no problem! Never mind two weddings, the birth of another grandchild, and taking multiple trips to visit loved ones from sea to shining sea as I did so.

And then my husband retired and sold our home. We downsized and moved to a new town. So far so good on the writing front except for the fact that now we had to make the adjustment to new life together. Every day.

Nancy Jill Thames at the Met
Nancy Jill Thames at the Met
Meanwhile, I was writing short stories for Happy Homicides anthologies and at the same time working on Book 11 which I originally titled “Murder at the Met.” The only problem with that title was the met also referred to the Metropolitan Opera and a baseball team.

“The Death of Amanda Corbin” made sense since she was the victim so I changed the title. Didn’t work for my collaborators, so I changed the title again to the current title “Museums Can Be Murder.”

And then I ran out of steam. I did not care if I ever finished the book. My husband retired, why not me?

If it hadn’t been for the constant nudging and encouragement via emails from Brenda Burke Johnson, a fan from the beginning and my major editor, I don’t believe I would have completed the project.

The other reason to publish this book was the person mentioned in the dedication, my sister-in-law Gayle Elaine Biggs was the inspiration for one of the characters, Paige, Jillian’s sister-in-law. Sadly, Gayle passed last November.

It feels good to complete a project, but having Gayle’s memory live on, for me, is the best reward.

Thanks for letting me share my heart,
Nancy Jill Thames

Nancy Jill Museums can be MurderThe Christmas holidays get a morbid start when Jillian Bradley’s neice Kaitlin Romero discovers the body of her boss at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An envelope containing rare Charles Dickens illustrations is missing, and Detective Mickey Wells must reluctantly rely on Jillian’s help to solve the crime.

The case goes international when the vendor of the illustrations is murdered and linked to possible fraud.

As always, Jillian’s Yorkie companion Teddy helps solve the case by discovering an important clue.

Afterward tea included!

Click on the book cover ↑
or click here to find this new release at Amazon.

Click here for the book’s page on Nancy Jill’s website, plus the list of all 10 of the other books in the Jillian Bradley series.

Paying Homage to Sue Grafton with Bevan Atkinson

Bevan Atkinson is a mystery author who has made a huge, and exciting, commitment to the mystery genre.

57 Bevan AtkinsonListen to my interview with Bevan to find out how she was inspired by the great Sue Grafton and how she’s come to model her Tarot mysteries after Grafton’s Alphabet series. Bevan has put an interesting twist on the idea of using an alphabetical structure to guide the process of writing a mystery series.

During our conversation, we even touch on the subject of cults (something I’ve written a memoir about) because Bevan’s third book in this series involves a cult.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Bevan Atkinson, and all her books on her website TheTarotMysteries.com. You can also find her on Facebook.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Bevan’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Japanese Mysteries and Self-Discovery for Amateur Sleuths with S.J. Pajonas

This was the first cozy mystery series I’d ever heard of that’s set in Japan.

SJ PajonasI had to talk to Stephanie (SJ) Pajonas about her Daydreamer Detective, Mei Yamagawa. Mei has moved back home to the rural community where her mother lives, after failing at life in the big city. But, as so often with life, that’s probably for the best because Mei’s daydreaming ways make her an instinctive and insightful amateur sleuth.

Stephanie and I chat about what led to her fascination with Japan, learning Japanese, and practicing her language skills on her visits to that island nation.

You can find out more about today’s guest, S.J. Pajonas, and all her books on her website SPajonas.com. You can also find her on Twitter @SPajonas.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Stephanie’s books on Amazon
  • Stephanie also writes Science Fiction with a Japanese twist. You can learn more here.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Cozy Mysteries with a Western Twist with Alexandra Amor

This is what happens when the podcast host becomes a podcast guest. 😉

52 Alexandra AmorToday I’m delighted to share an interview from Alan Petersen’s Meet the Thriller Author podcast. The subject of the interview is me! Your host, Alexandra Amor, becomes the guest for this week.

Alan and I talk about my cozy mystery novels set in frontier British Columbia. And we also touch on my children’s novels, as well as the first book I wrote a memoir about 10 years I spent in a meditation cult in Vancouver in the 1990s.

This interview was originally posted on Alan Petersen’s podcast, Meet the Thriller author. Many thanks to Alan for letting me share it here as well.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Alexandra Amor, and all her books on her website AlexandraAmor.com. You can also find her on Twitter @artconnectsus.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Alexandra’s books

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Solving Mysteries and Dodging Bullets Way Off Broadway with Cindy Brown

Cozy mystery author Cindy Brown is slightly silly, but also very serious about writing stories that matter to her.

50 Cindy BrownIn this wide-ranging interview, Cindy mentions some great writing advice she got from a Star Wars screenwriter and how that has informed her Ivy Meadows mysteries.

She also shares some fascinating facts about Annie Oakley. When Cindy was researching her latest book, Ivy Get Your Gun, she discovered that Annie was not only a cracker-jack shot, she was a determined and brave business-woman who was reportedly kind and generous despite her fame in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This reminded me of how much fun it is for writers like Cindy (and me) to weave real life events, people and places into our fictional stories. And of course, we sincerely hope it is as much fun for our readers when they get our books in their hands!

You can find out more about today’s guest, Cindy Brown, and all her books on her website CindyBrownWriter.com. You can also find her on Twitter @friendlybrown.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Cindy’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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A TV Journalist Who’s Trying to Avoid Being Caught Dead in Wyoming with Patricia McLinn

Former newspaper editor and multi-genre author Patricia McLinn lets the muses guide her when she writes her books.

49 Patricia McLinnI confess that as a writer I don’t have nearly as much confidence as today’s podcast guest, Patricia McLinn. This interview was fascinating for me because Patricia shares a bit about her writing process, which does not involve outlines and planning – even when she’s writing mysteries!

Patricia also writes romance, but today we’re focused on her Caught Dead In Wyoming series. Book 6 in the series, Back Story, will be published in October 2017, and in the meantime you can start at the beginning of journalist, and amateur sleuth, Elizabeth Danniher’s story with Sign Off, which is free in ebook form right now.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Patricia McLinn, and all her books on her website PatriciaMcLinn.com. You can also find her on Twitter @PatriciaMcLinn.

Click on any of the book covers to go to Patricia’s books on Amazon.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Who killed the pottery teacher? Book excerpt from Gilian Baker’s new cozy mystery

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Gilian Baker’s new Jade Blackwell mystery, A Time to Kiln.

Gilian chatted with me about Book 1 in this series on Episode 37 of It’s a Mystery podcast. Today you can read an excerpt from the newest book in the series. Take it away, Gilian!

Book excerpt Time to KilnIn this excerpt from the new Jade Blackwell Mystery Series, A Time to Kiln, Jade has formed a theory about who killed her pottery teacher, Paula Hexby.

After Paula’s husband, Dillon, made a scene at his wife’s funeral last night with local real estate agent, Jack Bristol, she thinks she’s got it nailed.

The next morning I was sitting in my office, but I wasn’t working. Instead, I was creating a timeline of the murder, struggling to connect the dots. Even though there was now another suspect, my money was on Jack Bristol. Last night’s brouhaha didn’t prove Jack was Paula’s murderer, but it did earn him another tick beside his name on my timeline.

I could see Paula falling under Jack’s spell—he was smooth and came off as worldly and sophisticated, even though he was really a small town boy. He was handsome and in my opinion, a better candidate for a fling than Roger Graver, who was much older and definitely not debonair.

Clearly Dillon hated Jack, but admittedly, it could have been for many reasons. Jack Bristol had few friends in the community, though we’d all done business with him at one time or another. But, Dillon detesting Jack because of an affair with his wife fit nicely into my theory.

Unfortunately, there were problems with my theory as well. For example, why would Paula and Jack use the studio as a love nest when they could’ve gone to Jack’s house? It would certainly be more comfortable and private since his house was farther out of town than the studio. If he were going to kill her, wouldn’t it be safer to do so at his own home? There he would’ve had time to bury the body on one of the acres he owned. It would have been nearly impossible for the sheriff’s department to find the body, even if he was suspected of the crime.

Even though I didn’t have the answers to those questions, I still liked Jack for the murder. I didn’t know him well since I’d never personally done business with him, and I’d been happy to keep it that way. However, I concluded that I now needed to get better acquainted with our local realtor.

***

Driving into town a few minutes later, I invented a story to sell my impromptu meeting with Jack. The melee last night would come up naturally in the conversation, Jack being the bragging type, but I came up with a lame cover story, just in case.

I slid into a parking space in front of Bristol’s Realty Office. All the lights were off, and even with my new bifocals, I couldn’t read the sign hanging on the door. Sighing, I unfastened my seatbelt and got out of the car. Seems he was out of the office, but there was a cell number listed so I could inform him of my real estate needs. Fat chance.

Sighing again, I got back into the car and dialed the number as instructed. It rang repeatedly until his voicemail kicked in. As I listened to his arrogant voice giving me instructions, I wondered if I should bother leaving a message. What the heck, I might as well, since he was probably rarely in his office.

After the beep, I left my fabricated story and asked him to call me on my cell phone. I clicked off the call after reciting my number. What should I do now? I’d been psyched to talk to him, so the thought of going back home to work left me feeling apathetic. Did I have any errands to run? I couldn’t think of any. Shoot.

On impulse, I started the car and headed to Paula’s Pottery Barn. I wouldn’t mind getting another look at those pieces with the opalescent glaze—the ones I suspected were the product of the pilfered recipe. Even if no one was around, I might be able to get a good look at them through the big front windows Paula had installed to show off her work before customers had even walked in the door.

It was another beautiful, breezy day, and I took full advantage of being out of the office. I rolled down my windows and turned up the 80s radio station. I sang along with REO Speedwagon …And I’m going keep on lovin’ youuuuuu…The song ended, and the station went to a commercial break right as I pulled into the driveway. Perfect timing. There didn’t seem to be anyone around, though I hadn’t really expected there to be.

I shut off the car in the middle of an ad by a local garage offering a special on snow tires. I didn’t want to think about the snow and cold on such a gorgeous day. Maybe I’d spend some time in the garden when I got home. I was speculating why weeds grew so much faster than things I planted when, out of habit, I turned and pulled on the door knob. To my amazement, it opened.

I’d want to keep my store locked up, even in rural Wyoming, but I shrugged to myself and walked around the large open space, viewing a matching set of teacups and pot all done in the opalescent glaze. Picking up one of the cups, I was astonished by how sturdy it looked, and yet, how light and elegant it was. It took a real artist to throw such a light cup. My attempt would’ve weighed five pounds if it weighed an ounce. I felt a sadness at the loss of such a talented young lady, even if she ended up being a thief and adulteress.

Caressing the smooth, glossy finish, I walked around looking at other pieces on display, when I saw a shoe lying on the floor near the studio door. As I neared it, I gasped and dropped the cup. The sound of it smashing into bits reverberated in my head as time seemed to stand still.

I now knew why Jack hadn’t answered his phone. He was lying on the cement floor of the dusty pottery studio, dead.

Find out if Jade eventually figures out who killed Paula and Jack by grabbing a copy of A Time to Kiln, the latest installment in the Jade Blackwell Mystery Series here.

Gilian BakerGilian Baker is a former English professor who threw in the towel and decided to show ‘em how it’s done. She’s gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She’s the author of Blogging is Murder and A Time to Kiln.
Be the first to learn about new releases and discounts, plus get exclusive content by signing up for Gilian’s email list by clicking here.

A Time to Kiln: A Jade Blackwell Cozy Mystery (Book 2)

A Time to KilnDisenchanted with life after solving her first real case, Jade Blackwell, successful blogger and amateur sleuth, throws herself into a new hobby…until murder rears its ugly head.

But when Jade attempts to ferret out the killer of local pottery teacher, Paula Hexby, she comes up short and suspicion begins to descend on her daughter’s former boyfriend. Evidence and bodies are stacking up, as Jade finds herself caught between an untrustworthy client and her beloved community.

Now at a personal and professional crossroads, Jade must once again jump into the breech, along with partner Gabrielle Langdon, to uncover the truth behind this string of horrific murders. Is she really cut out for this life of sleuthing and danger? Has Jade been defending the real murderer all along? Or is there something much more sinister afoot?

Cozy Mystery Antique Hunters and a Witch Lost in Time with Vicki Vass

Have you ever wondered if your favorite characters from books were based on real people?

Podcast with Vicki VassToday author Vicki Vass answers that question for us. Her Antique Hunters cozy mystery protagonists are based on two of her close friends. Now these are ladies I’d love to meet.

Vicki and I also spend time talking about her latest mystery, Bloodline, a book that cozy mystery reviewer Karen Owen named the best mystery she’s read so far in 2017.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Vicki Vass, and all her books on her website VickiVass.com. You can also find her on Facebook at VickiVassAuthor.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Vicki’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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An RCMP Officer Who Comes From Away With Mike Martin

How many mysteries do you know of that are set in Canada’s easternmost province?

Mike MartinChatting with Mike Martin during this interview made me appreciate how vast and varied Canada is. Mike writes about an Alberta Cree man who now lives in Newfoundland, while I write about characters at the extreme opposite end of our huge country.

Where we’re from and where we end up can often be two very different places. Mike and I touch on the idea that outsiders in a small community can have a perspective that longtime residents might not have. This can be essential sometimes for a mystery author’s sleuth 😉

I am personally always intrigued by how the places in a novel inform the stories and affect the characters. Mike’s protagonist, Sgt. Windflower, has the unique experience of being from rural Northern Alberta. But he seems to have become quiet attached to the small Newfoundland community he finds himself in.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Mike Martin, and all his books on his website SgtWindflowerMysteries.com. You can also find him on Twitter @mike54martin .

Click on any of the book covers to go to Mike’s books on Amazon.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
Keep reading →