Modern Technology and Old Fashioned Murder with Gilian Baker

What happens when you cross an entrepreneur with a literature professor and a frustrated blogger? Murder, of course!

My guest on today’s podcast, Gilian Baker, has been a writing teacher for years. When she started working on a story during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a few years ago, the muses took hold and they haven’t let go yet.

Gilian and I chat about the very modern subject of her first cozy mystery novel, and the classic elements it also contains (a small town location and hemlock, naturally!). Gilian has two more books coming out this year and I will be sure to post and Tweet about them when they are released.

In the introduction I mention that my guest from episode 21, Vered Ehsani, has an amazing deal on right now for the box set of her Society for Paranormals mysteries, which she describes as ‘Lara Croft meets Jane Austen in colonial Kenya’. Three novels for $0.99. Click here to learn more and grab this box set. This price won’t last long.

Also (it’s an embarrassment of mystery novel riches this week), my guest from episode 8, Robin Storey, has just released her latest book called A Time for Penance. It is also on special for $0.99 until May 22. Click here to check that one out too!

This podcast episode is sponsored by the free mystery novella, Charlie Horse.

1890. Frontier British Columbia. When one of her students is accused of a crime, will new schoolteacher Julia Thom be able to prove his innocence?

For a limited time you can click here, or on the cover image at right to get your free copy.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Gilian Baker, and all her books on her website GilianBaker.com. You can also find her on Twitter @gilianbaker.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

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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Writing Comedy and Depth with Kim Hunt Harris

Just like life, Kim Hunt Harris’s Trailer Park Princess cozy mystery novels are a healthy mix of funny moments and challenging times for her amateur sleuth Salem Grimes.

When I read The Middle Finger of Fate, the first book in the series, I was struck by how funny Kim’s writing is, and how touched I was by her character Salem’s ups and downs. Salem is someone really REALLY trying to turn her life around. And she’s going through one of those times in life when no matter what she does things seem to wrong. And the harder she tries to right them, the wronger they go. (We’ve all had times like that!)

And yet, Kim’s writing is so funny, and so sweet, that I laughed outloud throughout the book. Don’t even get me started about the car with the ‘bucket’ seat. Oh my! 😉

If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, do yourself a favor and try out the Trailer Park Princess books. You can thank me later. 😉

You can find out more about today’s guest, Kim, and all her books on her website KimHuntHarris.com. And you will find her on Twitter @kimhuntharris.

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

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

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Book Excerpt from Blogging Is Murder

Hello readers!

Today the lovely Gilian Baker has a treat for us. She’s got a brand new book coming out, Blogging Is Murder, and she’s sharing an excerpt with us, as well as some behind the scenes thoughts about why she wrote this book and the very current and present issues about online privacy and security that concern us all.

Take it away, Gilian!

******

The first book in the Jade Blackwell Mysteries series, Blogging is Murder, came about as a catharsis for the frustrations of trying to make a living from my first blog. The issues that arise are ones that every blogger deals with. And cyber-theft is a blogger’s biggest nightmare.

In the scene I’ve chosen to share, Jade, our protagonist, learns that her friend and fellow blogger, Liz Collins, has been hacked, and more besides. The hacker has taken over Liz’s blog and her social media profiles. The situation has now escalated and Liz is at her wit’s end. Jade meets her friend at the little tea shop in Aspen Falls, Wyoming, Tea & Sympathy, to offer comfort…and to satisfy her curiosity.

“Well, last night we decided to bring the sheriff in because the hacker—Connie is her name, by the way—showed up on our doorstep.” Liz took a gigantic breath once she’d gotten the words out.

“What?”

“Yeah, that’s why we’re so freaked out. But we didn’t want to make a scene in front of the kids, so we decided to go to the sheriff station today to see what he recommended.”

“So, what did he say?”

“First, we made an official complaint. I have to print out all the correspondence from my hosting and social media companies, so there’s proof in our file. Oh, my gosh, Jade. I have a file at the sheriff’s office.” She dropped her head into her hands as I grabbed for her tea cup before she tipped it over.

Reaching over the table, I patted her arm, making the usual comforting noises while she cried. Why would someone decide to invade her life like this? Why would someone go to the trouble of hacking to add to a blog and social media profiles? Were mine safe? I needed to take immediate action when I got home.

I stopped patting. “Wait a minute. This Connie woman showed up on your doorstep last night. How on earth did she find out where you lived?”

Liz’s red face looked up, her eyes peeking at me through her eyelashes. “My physical address is still on my accounts. You know that legally you have to have an address listed on the emails you send to your subscribers.”

I nodded, with a sinking feeling of what was coming next.

“I meant to get a P.O. Box, Jade, but it always got pushed back on the priority list. I mean, with all the other stuff you have to do as a blogger, it just didn’t seem that important, even though I’d read other peoples’ stories about similar situations. I guess in the back of my mind I just didn’t believe anyone would do it to me.”

She paused to blow her nose loud enough to make several patrons turn and look. “I’m not some huge celebrity, although the blog is gaining popularity.”

“Oh, Liz. Don’t blame yourself. I’ve been doing exactly the same thing. In fact, we’ve all heard those stories. But in every case, those savvy online entrepreneurs didn’t take action until someone came to their houses either.” I made a mental note to hit the post office PDQ to get the P.O. Box I’d been procrastinating.

*Note from Gilian:
Per FCC regulations, bloggers are required to include an address on all correspondence they send to people who sign up for their newsletters. Even though it’s recommended to use a P.O. Box as this address, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to use their physical address. The idea to add this to the story occurred when I read a post from a blogging personality who described a night when a fan showed up at her house asking for advice.

“Part of me knows that, but I keep thinking about the kids. I should have been protecting my family, Jade. But something else always seemed more urgent.”

“I know.” I patted her arm again. “What else did the sheriff suggest?”

“We started the process to get a restraining order against her so if she shows up again, they can do something. The cyber-crime stuff is less cut and dried.”

“Well, you know I’ll do whatever I can to help. Just give me a call.”

Liz blew her nose again, this time with barely a sound, and gave me a more genuine smile. “I know, Jade. I feel better just talking about it.” She looked at her watch and sniffed. “Oh, man. I’ve gotta get going. School lets out soon.” She looked up at me with wet, hazel eyes. “Thanks so much for dropping everything to meet me, Jade. I know you must have a hundred other things on your plate today.”

“Don’t be silly, Liz. Family and friends always come first.” As the words came out of my mouth, my mind went to my huge to-do list that had just gotten longer… now I needed to add “keep people from hacking my life” to it.

*******

One of the reasons I decided to include the cyber-security angle as part of the plot in the book was because of the pervasiveness of the problem. The average person now uses the Internet to shop, bank and file their taxes. What must it be like to also have to worry about someone hacking into your blog—the way you make a living? How can bloggers protect the personal information of the fans who buy their products and services? How difficult is it to get into someone’s Facebook account and post as that person?

Does the hacker go free? Is Liz able to save her livelihood? Who get murdered and why? The answer to these questions are answered in Blogging is Murder, now available for pre-order.

Gilian Baker is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger & ghostwriter to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

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 lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines.

Connect with Gilian on her website or on Twitter @GilianBaker

Find Blogging Is Murder on Amazon.
Watch the book trailer.

Small Town Mysteries and Romantic Suspense with Morgan Wyatt

Podcast episode 24Author Morgan K. Wyatt writes in several different genres, including romantic suspense, paranormal fantasy and mysteries.

Today we’re talking about her Painted Lady Inn mystery series that she co-writes with her husband.

You can find out more about Morgan and her books on her website MorganKWyatt.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

Transcript of Interview with Morgan Wyatt

Alexandra: Hi Mystery Readers, I’m Alexandra Amore. And this is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m here today with Morgan K. Wyatt. Hi, Morgan.

Morgan: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Morgan: Oh, I am well. And yourself?

Alexandra: I’m good, thanks. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

MorganWyattMorgan Wyatt started writing in first grade when she was dissatisfied with the mundane endings of the reader stories. She writes romantic suspense under the names of Morgan K. Wyatt and Morgan Kay. Morgan and her husband pen cozy mysteries under the combined name of M. K. Scott.

And that’s one of the books I wanted to talk to you about a bit today.

I’m curious about what it’s like to write with your spouse? Can you tell us a bit about that?

Morgan: Well, first of all, we’re still married.

Alexandra: That’s a good sign.

Morgan: He’s the grammar hammer. And he is often the voice of reason. In one of my books he told me I was having someone think too much as they were falling because they would have hit the ground before they could have…he did the math and he told me they would have hit the ground in 4.5 seconds and they cannot have had those internal conversations.

Alexandra: In that time. I think I saw him describe on your Amazon pages that the physics expert or…

Morgan: Yes.

Alexandra: Yeah. And so how does it work?

Do you do the first draft and then show it to him? Or is there a bit of a back and forth?

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Interview with Romantic Mystery author Jane Firebaugh

Introduction

JaneFirebaughToday I’ve got a very special interview for mystery lovers – with Jane Firebaugh, author of the White Mountains Romantic Mysteries.

Jane was born and raised in eastern Tennessee. She grew up with an insatiable appetite for books of all genres. As she grew older, that desire continued and finally developed into a love of writing.

She says her books are a bit of a mix between cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. You’ll find them to be fairly cozy, with no profanity, overt sex or obvious gore, yet there is a bit more romance and suspense than you normally see in a cozy mystery.

When Jane is not in front of a computer writing, she can usually be found hiking with my dogs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during temperate weather seasons, skiing there during cold ones or occasionally melting in the Florida sun.

You can find Jane on her website at Jane-Firebaugh.com
She is also on Twitter, and Facebook.

The first book in Jane’s White Mountains series is Antiques and Avarice. The second is Old Crimes and Nursery Rhymes.

(FYI, no audio or video with this interview.)

Interview with Jane Firebaugh

Alexandra: Tell us about the main character in your White Mountain romantic mysteries, Olivia McKenna. What is her background? What does she care about? How does she end up embroiled in murders?

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Afternoon Tea, Gardening and Murder with Nancy Jill Thames

Introduction

Podcast episode 12 (1)Nancy Jill Thames is a gardener, a traveler, a lover of beauty and an author, not necessarily in that order. Today on It’s a Mystery Podcast we talk about the inspiration she finds for her series of cozy mystery novels in her travels, as well as what motivates her feisty amateur sleuth, Jillian Bradley.

As with so many of my guests, Nancy Jill has the first book in her series available for free. You can find Murder in Half Moon Bay at Amazon and the other online retailers and give it a try at no risk. If you like it, there are nine others available in the series.

You can find Nancy Jill at NancyJillThames.com.
She is also on Facebook, and Twitter.

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

You can also watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Nancy Jill Thames

Alexandra: Hi, everyone. I’m Alexandra Amor, and I’m here today with Nancy Jill Thames. Hi, Nancy Jill.

Nancy Jill: Hi, Alexandra.

Alexandra: How are you?

Nancy Jill: Doing awesome.

Alexandra: Good, good. I’m very happy to have you here to talk about your cozy mysteries. So let me give everyone a little bit of an introduction before we start. Nancy Jill Thames writes the Jillian Bradley mystery series, beginning with “Murder in Half Moon Bay” featuring a feisty garden columnist and her clue-sniffing Yorkie, and has been listed in the Amazon Author Watch Best Seller List.

NancyJillThamesWhen Nancy isn’t plotting Jillian’s next perilous adventure, she travels between Texas, California, and Georgia, finding new ways to spoil her grandchildren, playing classical favorites on her baby grand, or having afternoon tea with friends. So let’s start with the afternoon tea theme actually because that’s something that runs through many of your books.

Start by telling us a bit about Jillian, your main character. And I noticed in one of your reviews, this cracked me up. One of your fans said, “Finally! A mystery with a Yorkie in it.” The world has been waiting.

Nancy Jill: Well, I suppose so. Well, Jillian Bradley is, of course, my persona, a person that I am. I love beauty more than anything else. And it seems I love beauty in my home, in art, in the way I present food, books I read, my gardens, everything I do. Entertaining. I love pretty things. I have a teacup collection with 44 different teacups, and I use them.

Alexandra: Oh, wow.

Nancy Jill: I love beauty, and I love sharing that beauty with my readers.
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Culinary Competition Cozy Mysteries with Janel Gradowski

Introduction

There’s no doubt that Janel Gradowski loves to cook. Her blog is filled with recipes and cookbook reviews. So it’s no surprise that her cozy mystery series is based around culinary mysteries.

Today I talk to Janel about the inspiration for her books, her interest in flash fiction, and the intrigue and politics involved in the fictional culinary competitions that are catalysts for the murders in her mysteries. The first book in the series is Pies and Peril.

You can find Janel at JanelGradowski.com. As well as on Twitter and Facebook.

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

You can also click here to watch the episode on YouTube.

Podcast episode 9

Transcript of interview with Janel Gradowski

Alexandra: Hi, everyone. This is Alexandra Amor with It’s a Mystery Podcast and I’m here today with Janel Gradowski. Hi, Janel.

Janel: Hello.

Alexandra: Nice to see you. Thanks for being here.

Janel: Thank you for having me.

Alexandra: You’re welcome. So just for anyone that doesn’t know, I am going to give our listeners a bit of an introduction. Janel Gradowski is the author of the bestselling Culinary Competition Mysteries series. She also writes several short fiction series. Her work has appeared in many magazines, anthologies and online journals. She is a wife and mother who lives in the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. I’ve never heard Michigan described that way before and I love it.

Janel: Yes. We always have our map with us when we point to where we live, so it’s great.

Alexandra: It must be easy to teach kids in school then.

JanelGradowskiJanel: Yes, and actually the Upper Peninsula, you go sideways, so that’s a great way to do both sides of the state.

Alexandra: Yeah. Oh, fantastic. My parents live in Southern Ontario.

Janel: Not far away.
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