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.
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Writing Mysteries from the Heart and Finding Humour in the Challenges of Aging with Julie Seedorf

When we think of amateur sleuths from cozy mysteries we might not always think about someone named Granny.

Julie SeedorfAuthor Julie Seedorf writes two different mystery series, and today she’s here to talk to me about her Fuchsia, Minnesota series featuring her feisty and independent heroine, Granny. In my experience, as readers we all love characters who live a little outside normal. Granny certainly fits that bill.

Julie’s books are witty and whimsical, and it goes without saying that Granny is full of spunk. But Julie does not shy away from touching on the serious issues that confront us as we age. And as she points out in this interview, she does so with a light touch to shine a light on issues like memory loss.

Julie is also clearly someone who does everything from a deeply heartfelt place. A very recent example is the GoFundMe page she started for mystery blogger and reviewer Lisa K. You can click here to read Lisa’s story at Julie’s blog. Almost daily I tweet links to Lisa’s cozy mystery book reviews – her site is a great source for finding new books and authors to read. I was honoured to be able to contribute a few weeks ago to the fund Julie started to help Lisa and her sister.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Julie Seedorf, and all her books on her website JulieSeedorf.com. You can also find her on Twitter @JulieSeedorf.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Julie’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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Edinburgh Bookshops, Cooking School Mysteries, and Ghostly Inspiration with Paige Shelton

Good news for cozy mystery fans! Prolific author Paige Shelton still has lots of stories up her sleeves.

Paige Shelton ep 42Paige is the author of four cozy mystery series (so far); The Farmer’s Market series, the Cooking School mysteries, the Scottish Bookshop mysteries, and the Dangerous Type mysteries.

Today we chat about all of these books, as well as her book research trip to Scotland (only slightly postponed after a passport mishap. Also, no Jamie Fraser sightings, which is too bad. 🙂 ), how she writes multiple series at one time, and the special day a ghost came into Paige’s writing space and helped her out with a book idea.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Paige Shelton, and all her books on her website PaigeShelton.com. You can also find her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Paige’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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Amateur Sleuths Running Family Businesses, and Villages Within Cities with Leslie Budewitz

Would you own and run a business with your family?

As Montana mystery author Leslie Budewitz points out in today’s lively interview, not everyone could embrace such a challenge. But her amateur sleuth, Erin Murphy, does just that in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries.

Leslie also has a second series of cozy mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and we have a great chat about the ‘village within a city’ setting that the market provides for spice shop owner, Pepper Reece.

If you live in Montana or Seattle, you can meet Leslie this month. She’s doing a book tour supporting the release of her latest book, Treble at the Jam Fest. I’ve put a link below to the page on her website with all the details on where she’ll be speaking and signing books.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Leslie Budewitz, and all her books on her website LeslieBudewitz.com. You can also find her on Twitter @LeslieBudewitz.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Leslie’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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Egg Wars, Silicon Valley, and Psychic Readings with Cassie Page

Where would you find an interior decorator, her tea-leaf reading best friend, and a hot fudge sauce recipe to die for?

Episode 40 Cassie PageIn Darling Valley, of course!

Today my guest, Cassie Page, shares with us her motivation and inspiration for writing the Darling Valley cozy mysteries, featuring amateur sleuth and interior designer, Olivia M. Granville (OMG).

We talk about her love of cooking (and her over 500 cookbooks!) and why she chose not to write culinary cozy mysteries, but instead created the fictional Darling Valley just outside her home of San Francisco.

I also want to mention that Vered Ehsani, who was my guest on It’s a Mystery Podcast episode 21, has a fun giveaway she wanted my listeners to know about. To celebrate the launch of her new Cozy Tea Shoppe Mysteries, she’s giving away three handmade African tea cozies. Click here to learn more and enter the giveaway.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Cassie Page, and all her books on her website CassiePage.com. Follow her on Facebook at CassiePageBooks.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Cassie’s books on Amazon
  • For the recipe for The Salted Caramel’s delicious hot fudge sauce, go to CassiePage.com and sign up for Cassie’s newsletter
  • Wikipedia page about the town of Darling and Sir Charles Henry Darling, who it was named after

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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Dog Detectives and Short Mysteries with Sandra Baublitz

Author Sandra Baublitz and I have in common a profound love for dogs.

Sandra’s love is really specific in her Dog Detective series, with Paw the Saint Bernard as the detective protagonist, along with his human, Clarissa. In the interview, you’ll hear Sandra and I talk about her writing routine, some new ideas for another cozy mystery series, and Dean the Basset, whom I’m very grateful Sandra introduced me to. 😉

If you’re a fan of Lilian Jackson Braun’s ‘The Cat Who…’ series or Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mysteries, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy Sandra’s cozy mystery series.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Sandra Baublitz, and all her books on her website SandraBaublitz.com. You can also find her on Twitter @SandraInvesting.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Sandra’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 →