APRIL

CELEBRATING ROMANTIC MYSTERIES

04-20-19 – In Praise of a “Bad Pick” by Linda Lovely and Robin Weaver

Monday, April 22, 2019

It's a Journey All Right!

by Courtney Pierce



A funny thing happened on the way to writing my first book. Well . . . maybe not so funny, but let's give it a go..

The seeds of a book percolated inside me for over a decade, but I didn't do anything about it. After 25 years in corporate life, the routine had grown tiresome, and the constant business travel put me on the road to official burnout. So in 2011, when my company wanted to transfer me from Houston to New York City (a third relocation), I heartily declined. I wanted to move back to Portland, Oregon, to be closer to my family. It was also as far away from New York as I could get.

I needed a sabbatical. With a healthy buyout of my employment contract, I took a year off to recharge my batteries, the goal being to finally write that book. Dreamy images filled my thoughts: sitting on the patio with a cup of chamomile tea, typing away on my laptop, and taking long walks for inspiration. I made my fantasy a reality . . . for exactly two weeks.

Then the phone rang one evening. It was my Dad.

“Hey, Kid," he said. "Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” His tone made my heart pound. Something was wrong. My parents lived four hours away in Southern Oregon. I eyed my car keys on the kitchen counter for a possible impromptu road trip.

“Sure. What’s up, Bear?" I said. "Everything okay?” I kept my voice upbeat by using his nickname. We all had nicknames. Our real names were saved for being in trouble.

“I think we need to move up your way. Can you help us find a house?”

“What’s going on?”

“We need to be closer to you and better healthcare. Mom has colon cancer, and I have bladder cancer.”

My mind immediately created on image of bacon circling in the microwave while two cigarettes smoldered in an ashtray. But it wasn't the time to spew out a healthcare lecture.

That phone call was only the beginning. Over the next six months, my Dad added congestive heart failure to his health rap sheet, my Mom had her own heart attack after her cancer surgery, and my younger sister had a breakdown and attempted suicide. For a few of those months, three members of my small, close family were on the brink of death in the same hospital. 

My first book, Stitches, was in the gestation phase, and I feared my inspiration to write would be relegated to a mere pipe dream. Days were spent making the rounds in the hospital: Oncology, Cardiology, and the Psychology wings. The medical staff became an extension of my familial network with their words of encouragement.  My older sister and I stuck together like glue on the phone, but she lived too far away to help me in real time. 

Every day I’d sit for a couple of hours in each of my family member’s rooms with my laptop, attempting to heal with my story's theme of a found magical artifact that holds the secret of immortalityThe Thin Man meets History Detectives with a twist of magic

Writing quickly became therapy. And the nurses took ownership of Stitches with me.

I believed that my story could give my family everlasting life, written in silence at their bedsides and read aloud when they stirred. And then something really did start to happen. In the darkest moments, my prose became progressively lighter and more humorous. Words became super fuel in the form of a simple return smile, a brightening of eyes, or a chuckle. The healing had officially begun.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. I can say with conviction that it’s true. And remaining true to the rules of writing craft, I hefted my protagonists over the hump of “all hope is lost” to land them squarely on their feet with courage and conviction. The hospital rounds of therapy dogs, meant for patients, elevated me, too, with each stroke of their fur.

Dad lived long enough to see Stitches in print. I lost him soon after its publication. And my Mom . . . well . . . she’s an Energizer Bunny. At eighty-five, she’s independent and indestructible, and seven years and six books later, Mom remains cancer free with a resilient heart. My little sister recovered and regained her independence. And to keep the inspiration going, I wrote the fictional Dushane Sisters Trilogy with Mom and my two sisters in mind. The trickster therapy dogs in that series were a celebration of my hospital time too.

The original manuscripts for all my published books are locked in Mom’s cedar chest, because she’s convinced that I’ll be famous one day. That's a mom for 'ya. I guess I really did have the ability to make my family immortal on the page. And in my next book, Big Sky Talk, Dad will forever live up to his nickname in the form of a reincarnated grizzly bear. We'll get to have another indelible conversation.

The light of Inspiration is brighter when emerging from the dark, but it takes a healthy dose of love and sacrifice to realize the reward.

Photo: Micah Brooks
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband. stepdaughter, and their brainiac cat, Princeton. Courtney writes for the baby boomer audience. She spent 28 years as an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.

Audiobook now Available!
Check out all of Courtney's books: 
windtreepress.com 

Print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com.

Available Now!
Book 3 of the
Dushane Sisters
Trilogy
The Dushane Sisters Trilogy concludes with Indigo Legacy, available now. There's love in the air for Olivia and Woody, but will family intrigue get in the way? Ride along for the wild trip that starts in a New York auction house and peaks in a mansion on Boston's Beacon Hill. 

The Dushane sisters finally get to the truth about their mother.


New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."



Saturday, April 20, 2019

In Praise of a "Bad Pick"

By Robin Weaver

I am delighted to tell you about the latest Linda Lovely novel, Bad Pick. Before I do, let me tell you a little bit about the author.

There’s a crazy quote that reads: A friend will help you move, but a real friend will help you move a dead body.  Linda would also check for a pulse and dig the hole for the corpse. Not literally, of course (at least not yet J). We did, however, spent an entire Saturday afternoon devising the twenty most unusual places to discover a non-breather.

Linda is not only a good friend, she’s a lovely person.  A once-upon-a-time vegan who runs a non-profit organization, she volunteers in her community, and even better, the woman makes bucket-loads of candy for her friends. Linda often drops everything to proofread a manuscript because someone stupidly forget a blog was due. If you looked up the word nice in the dictionary, her picture would be there. 

Only do you know what his uber-nice, ulta-giving person does when she gets her fingers on a keyboard????   She kills people with fire ants, boils men in defective hot tubs, and runs over perfectly nice ex-FBI agents with motorcycles.

Thus, Bad Pick is the best pick for your spring reading list.  But don’t take just my word for it.  Read what other amazing authors are saying about this delightfully spooky book below:

"There's such a lot to enjoy in Linda Lovely's third Brie Hooker mystery BAD PICK. Of course, I came for the goat yoga and the religious extremists (I'm only human), but I stayed for the love triangle, the female friendships, the family members rubbing along so realistically, the sidelights on vegan cooking and the rich depiction of small-town life. And what kept me flicking the pages fast enough to cause a draft? The twisty, knotty, killer plot underneath all that charm. BAD PICK is a good un!"
Catriona McPherson, Multi-Award-Winning Author of the Last Ditch Mysteries.

“Wow! In Bad Pick, Lovely wrote an amazing novel only to see one part of the plot come to life in headlines all over the country. A fringe religious cult, a Supreme Court nominee, and goat yoga combine together in a tale that fans of mysteries won’t want to miss.
Sherry Harris, Agatha Award Nominee and Author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries. 

“The Brie Hooker mysteries from author Linda Lovely continue to entertain, this time with extremists who really don't like the farm's new goat yoga offering. You'll find yourself muttering, "What the feta?" as you follow the action around not one but two murders from the edge of your seat. Fix yourself a chevre sandwich and sit down to enjoy a delightful - and suspense-filled - read.”
Edith Maxwell, Author of the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries.

BAD PICK, the latest cozy in the Brie Hooker Mystery Series, brings the cast of characters we’ve come to love back in full force. The heroine, Brie Hooker, continues to prove she’s a good sport, even though she’s facing an extra test in this book—dating two men, best friends, who’ve agreed sex is off the table.  As a vegan, Brie still has to contend with good-natured ribbing from her Aunt Eva, a dedicated carnivore who owns the goat farm where Brie lives and works.
Among Brie’s family and friends, my favorite is Mollye, a devil-may-care fun-to-the-core type of woman. Every time the fortuneteller, pottery maker, and proprietor of a new age shop appears it puts a smile on my face.
Then there’s Aunt Eva. I live in the country with horses and a mule, so I feel like I know Eva. She’s the type of person you could call at two in the morning and tell her your horse was down with colic. By two-fifteen, she’d show up to help you walk the horse until dawn.
In addition to letting me have fun with the characters, the BAD PICK plot offered plenty of action and intrigue, including one plot element that’s right out of today’s headlines. Bottom line: BAD PICK offers a wonderful way to spend a spring or summer afternoon sitting on a wrap-around porch with a frosty iced tea by your side.
Haird Lewis, Critiquer Extraordinre, Souther Gentleman, and Writer of Mysteries and Young Adult Fiction

Order your copy of Bad Pick today at Hennery Press or Amazon.com. While you're there, take a peek the other fab books in this series: Bones to Pick and Picked Off.

ENJOY!!

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way...


Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of sci-fi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. This month's topic challenged me as I'm not naturally funny, so I opted for a humorous past post. So here's a journey to my favourite place, which is...
...bed. Mmm. Cuddly pillows, memory foam mattress. A nice thick duvet this time of year wrapped in a soft cotton cover that I can burrow under and shut out the world. Wonderful....zzzz...

(not me, BTW. Or my bed)
Whut?! Oh, sorry, must have drifted off there. Hmm, yes, I like my bed. Long lazy lay-ins at the weekend, when I can daydream about my next book. But not very convenient. Would you believe I have to get up to change the DVD or get coffee? How outrageous is that? And not very interesting to you, right?

Okay, let's think again. My favourite place is...the summer house. Yes! Sitting in the summer house with my laptop while dappled sunlight falls across the porch, birds singing in the trees, flowers and greenery everywhere, and the contented sound of my bantam chooks foraging around the undergrowth. In summer nothing beats it. Except...




...the beach. Oh! The beach! Bright blue skies and pale golden sand stretching forever, The rush of the sea and its changing colours - sometimes blue, sometimes grey, sometimes green, or even brown when storm and tide have churned up the sands into the water - and the wonderful sounds of the waves with their tips white with foam or sparkling in the sun sweeping across the sand.

But...there's usually other people. And children. And speedboats and bikes whizzing around on the water. Lots and lots of other noises over the sound of the sea. Stray footballs getting too close for comfort, the one family that decides to pitch right up in front of you blocking your view of the sea and your kids playing there, the rubbish left by the family the day before, or the nasty surprise left by a fisherman.

Yes, this really is me and I really
did find this left on the beach

Sigh. Maybe it's no surprise that one of my stories features such a beach on an isolated tropical island where my two main characters can enjoy the solitude. Now if only I could go there.









So, I still haven't answered the question. If none of those suit then my favourite place is...inside a book. Of course! I have over three hundred on my Kindle and Kobo, and in a household with three voracious readers and two keen readers, even more in print on various bookshelves around the house. In fact, sometimes I even think we might have too many books (but only for a second!). Yes, with all those books I have hundreds of places to go to. But how do I choose just one? I can't. I'd like to visit them all. But are any of them my favourite?

Let's think about this again. Where is my favourite place?


Light bulb! Yes. That's it! My favourite place to be is inside my very own head. There, I can go anywhere in time and space that I want to, and it can be anything I want it to be. Yay!


Oh, but I can't take you there or share it with you. I'm afraid all you would find inside my head is a load of gloopy grey matter. Darn.

No. Wait. I can take you there! All you need to do is go to my website at http://pippajay.co.uk. I can even provide no-cost transportation to two of the places inside my head because The Bones of the Sea and Tales from the SFR Brigade are both completely free to download. And bonus because Tales is an anthology of eight out of this world scifi romances, so you get to visit worlds created by seven other authors as well. Are you ready to go have an adventure?


Good. Sorted! ^-^

I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul, and I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my favourite places. Now tell me yours. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The side trips of life....

Brief note before regular scheduled post...
I'm late...life is really running me over lately. But that isn't an excuse for not meeting your commitments so I apologize. 
Now on to our regular post
The theme or topic this month is 'a funny thing happened on my way to...' Sometimes the side trips are more or as fun as the actual destination. Whenever I take a road trip (without hubby who is an over-the-truckdriver and doesn't believe in side trips) I have many many stops plan...and they are ALL at ...
BAKERIES!!!!
For those who follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lynceeshillard) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/lyncee_shillard/) now I have a slight obsession with doughnuts.  I took my 7 year-old to Shedds  Aquarium over spring break. The Aquarium was amazing but oh the doughnuts!!!

A cappuccino whoopie pie!

Voted the best bear claw in Michigan

A triple fried cinnamon roll

Death by red velvet

How do you pick???

Got to have fruit....it's good for you

Charlie with a coconut macaroon cookie

A snicker doodle muffin

And cannoli from Little Italy Bakery

Whenever I plan a trip, I always look up bakeries along the way. It's what we do. I know some people love to see the largest ball of twine, and I'm good with that as long as I can eat a doughnut while looking at it.

I'm a firm believer that you have to enjoy the trip to the destination. Be to an amazing place like Shedd's Aquamarine or just to the local park. Often in life we become focused on our destination and we miss sooo much. While it's a balance not to get lost in the side trips and miss the destination entirely, the side trips, in my opinion are what enhances the destinations.

When planning a trip do you have 'favorite' or 'must sees' that you incorporate?

And when I'm not traveling to bakeries, I write ;-) I have a new release coming out in June... here the cover which I think looks almost as good as the doughnuts

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Will Write For Carrots

I love writing. I really do. I can't imagine my life without it. So why is it such a struggle?

We had a great discussion at my writers group on the weekend where we talked about what joy writing gives us, but also what we fear. I fear facing the keyboard and not knowing what to type. I want to write my stories, I love my ideas and my characters. I even sometimes love what I've written - but the anticipation of 'will words come into my head?' is a great procrastination inducer.

Deadlines are an obvious incentive (aka 'cracking whip'), but they are also a bit ethereal. They're 'sometime in the future' and it's easy to push aside because there's still plenty of time. I've retired from having a 'day job' and my time is pretty much my own. If I wanted, I could sit at my desk (or on my couch which is where I prefer to write) and work on my writing for eight hours. But that doesn't work for me.

I work best in 100 word sprints. It's a small, achievable goal. It's not daunting.  I am so envious of those who can just vomit words onto the page but I can't. It just doesn't/won't happen.  But I can write 100 words. It might take half an hour (or more), but it's not a daunting goal.

What works even better is if there is a reward for doing my 100 words.  A carrot dangling in front of me to move me forward. As I'm on an eating regime where carrots aren't encouraged (too many carbs), I have found other sources of bribery ..... erm, reward.

Currently I'm working on an upcycling project to turn an ugly brown chest of drawers (bought for next to nothing on Ebay) into something pretty. Once it got to the stage of being able to see what the end result would be, I was itching to get it finished. But I had writing goals to meet. So I'm not allowed to touch the drawers until I've done 100 words.

No writing = no painting.

Write 100 words. Paint for half an hour. Rinse and repeat.

Works a treat.

However, the excitement of a creative project isn't the only 'carrot' in my enticement pantry. It's amazing how magnetic a dish full of dirty dishes can be, or grocery shopping, or sweeping the garage. Or writing this blog !

Even on the rare occasion that I'm totally engrossed in a scene, and could write more than 100 words, I don't. Keeping my write/reward routine going is important for my productivity. Until I started on this reward system, my word counts were all over the place and with more 'no words written' days than I should admit to.

My carrot system not only get the words down, it gets other things done. I use a bullet journal for daily to-do items which includes my daily word count so between getting my rewards and ticking things off my list - I feel a sense of achievement at the end of the day. Win Win.

Well, the next 100 words on one of my current WIPs (a vampire story set in Paris) await !

Keep up with Andra's writing life on her Instagram account : andraashesmutmaven or sign up to her newsletter (The Naughty Corner)




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

“A funny thing happened on the way to…” by Delsora Lowe

Funny is a word that can be interpreted in many ways.
Using Second Definition
About an hour after I arrived at work in the alumni office of a prestigious secondary school in the middle of Washington, D.C., my alma mater and my employer, my friend and classmate working as an executive assistant to a senior law partner downtown, called. “Did you hear?” She went on to relate the story of the first plane hitting the first tower in NYC. We couldn’t imagine how air traffic controllers and pilots could miss the warnings of a huge tower looming in the path of the airplane.

The morning quickly unfolded. Hearing about the second tower. Running downstairs to the main office to watch T.V. Hearing a plane just hit the pentagon, where my co-worker’s husband worked. Luckily, he was on the opposite side, but a father of an alumni wasn’t so lucky. Then within hours, streams of people walked from downtown three miles away past my office, on a warm September, blue-skied, perfect early fall day, trying to get home with no public transportation running. 
My view of the cathedral – looking at the long side on the left of the photo.
My building sat on top of a hill, on the third floor of an old stone mansion. My office window faced the towers of the Washington National Cathedral and the flight path from the national airport where planes took off every few minutes, from across the river in Virginia. I never realized until the planes started flying again, that the visual from my window looked as though the planes were headed directly toward the cathedral towers. After 9/11, I had to turn my computer away from my precious view to avoid the sudden lurch in my stomach every few minutes—every time a plane traversed that air space—and looked like it was headed into the towers. In actuality it was an optical illusion of planes many miles away as they flew away from the city up the Potomac River toward unknown destinations. 
My office in Zartman House, under the chimney on the right, with dormer on right roof,
and another window looking out the side toward Cathedral.

That day, the school lost a parent of an alumni in the Pentagon. My co-worker lost a friend in one of the towers, whose wedding he was to take part two weeks later. Another co-worker’s daughter-in-law would have been on the subway getting off that stop at that exact time, if she hadn’t had a dentist appointment that made her late for work. Another co-worker, driving to work near the Pentagon saw the flames when the plane hit. The mother of my friend who had called earlier, saw the plane hit the Pentagon as she watched from her apartment window. A co-worker of my friend knew a flight attendant on that plane. The fire department blocks from my home were first to respond to the Pentagon. All these connections to the tragedy, out of only nine people in my department.

I tell you this, not to bring you down, but to put in perspective my feelings at suddenly being in a job that had no meaning. And in which in a matter of hours, I was two degrees away from tragedy that hit so many people that day. A job where I brought people (our alumni) together to have class reunions and gather in cities around the country for alumni parties with people who had one thing in common—they went to the same school.

I wasn’t a paramedic or a police officer or a firefighter or a soldier or an ER doctor. 

I was ONLY a party planner. I was an intermediary who brought people of common interests together.

That is until I began hearing from our alumni, letting the school and others know their friends were all right, and tracking down those we hadn’t heard from. Bringing people together in joy that their classmates were fine and had made it through a collective ordeal. And bringing those same people together to mourn. And later, celebrating my classmate (yes, I am proud of my class) by bestowing a distinguished alumni award, for the man we later learned had held together the economy of our country that first week, by being a lone person who stayed in harm’s way near the capital, even when they thought a plane might be headed toward the center of D.C. I might add, that in a few weeks I will be at this same person’s home to celebrate the 50th reunion of my class. And yes, this quiet, mild-mannered unsung hero, he is still our hero.
 

Now to the funny part.
 

As in definition number two: difficult to explain or understand.Through all that, I questioned everything I did. Part of my escape was to start writing. My first completed manuscript is lost somewhere, under a bed maybe. Poems I wrote got wiped out in a computer fix. But the feeling I got from using my imagination to weave stories, grew. I may not be a paramedic or in any of those other saving and protecting careers, but my gift to you, is to give you a place in which to escape to a world of make-believe. The world of happily-ever-afters, where hurts can be cured with the love of a special person.

And my gift on 9/11 and days and weeks to follow, was to bring people together, to connect them with friends, and to reassure them. To write their human-interest stories for the alumni magazine. It made me realize in the little spec of my world, that I had a talent to connect people and tell their stories. And that in this moment of history, that was important.

I no longer write non-fiction for alumni magazines. But that year marked the beginning of my fiction-writing journey. And for that I am personally grateful, as the writing saved me, made me strong enough to bring people together for fun and learning experiences, and understand that the small part I (and all writers) contribute to the world is important.


DELSORA LOWE
~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~
 

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.
Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine.
New Release - Blurb: The Prince’s Son 


A first meet, royalty and the nanny romance between a self-exiled prince with a royal chip on his shoulders and the local rancher's daughter who rails against any man who tries to tell her what to do. When she tries to tell the prince how to raise his son, tempers flare and sparks fly.

Ari Orula, a prince with a royal chip on his shoulders, has sworn off women.
Carla Peters, the rancher's daughter, has big dreams and it doesn't include listening to her dad, big brothers, or the new prince in town.
When the prince finds himself in dire straits and must find a nanny pronto, the last person he wants is his son's know-it-all ski teacher who insinuates he has a lot to learn about fatherhood.
The money the prince offers Carla for two weeks as a nanny will put a big dent in the cost of renovations for her new school, her life's dream. Does she dare risk working for the rancher her brothers think is trying to destroy their livelihood?
Despite best laid plans, two people at odds are brought together to rescue a child. At risk of alienating her family, Carla accepts the position. At risk of melting his stone-cold heart, Ari hires the rancher's daughter.
Will the sparks that fly torch Carla's dreams and inflame Ari's resolve, or ignite an everlasting love?

READ ME LINKS:
Amazon E-book link:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PZD3FNC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32PO3EI3KDLQI&keywords=delsora+lowe&qid=1553611414&s=digital-text&sprefix=dels%2Cdigital-text%2C196&sr=1-2-catcorr  

Amazon Print Book Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091276862?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
Books2read link, (includes Barnes and Noble and iBooks): books2read.com/u/b6xzr6

Social Media Links:
Author website: www.delsoralowe.com
Author FaceBook page: fb.me/delsoraloweauthor
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Delsora-Lowe/e/B01M61OM39/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Books2Read Author page: https://www.books2read.com/ap/8GWm98/Delsora-Lowe
BookBub Author Page: 
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/delsora-lowe-93c6987f-129d-483d-9f5a-abe603876518
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16045986.Delsora_Lowe 

Photo Credits:
https://www.google.com/search?q=free+photos+of+washington+cathedral&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=KmJNT7Ax-Y0vkM%253A%252CVHfJH91BkT7QFM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kQc0SRYD86XEnTwtFcC88kfbQ_UuQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwibh7P37bbhAhWrmuAKHUVCBpEQ9QEwBXoECAkQDg#imgrc=KmJNT7Ax-Y0vkM:
Sidwell Friends School Zartman House:
https://www.weathermaster-window.com/portfolio/sidwell-friends-zartman-house/

Monday, April 15, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Funny Book by Kristin Wallace

As a reader (and an author) I gravitate toward humor in my books. I just can’t do 300+ pages of angst. I mean, my latest series (Palm Cove Tales) features a pampered heiress pig named Matilda, and my March 26th release (Second Chance Hero) stars a naked cat. Okay, King Tut is a Sphynx so technically he’s hairless, and not “naked”, but it’s still a cat with no fur. Even when my books have serious themes, I still manage to inject humor somehow. 

It makes sense that my favorite authors are masters at writing humor. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgans, Rachel Gibson, Julie Anne Long, Julia Quinn are all “must reads” for me.

I’ve done this once before, but here are some more recommendations for great romantic comedy novels:

Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
I could read this book a thousand times and always laugh. A therapist and marriage counselor has her life fall spectacularly apart when her own marriage goes bust. She meets an actor known for playing psycho killers who wants to bust out of mold. It’s set in a little Italian village and also involves a mystery surrounding a fertility statue. Very funny. Also check out Natural Born Charmer

Best Man by Kristan Higgins
Faith Holland returns to her hometown after being dumped at the altar. Levi Cooper is the best friend of her former fiancé. He helped ruin her wedding. She should hate him but…maybe she was always meant to be with him? One of the best from a great author. Also check out If Only You Knew.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Julie Anne Long may be more-well known for her historicals, but this book is the first book in a contemporary series. It’s just perfection. An actor who became famous in a TV over show a decade ago fears he may become washed up. A waitress in a small town who is more than his match. Also check out First Time at Firelight Fallsfrom the same series.

Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe
Molly O’Keefe is another author who really knows how to do humor well. This one features a “bad girl” who’s been trying to outrun her notorious past. Also check out Can’t Buy Me Love

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
This is the first in a spinoff series from Julia’s popular Bridgerton family series. 
The Smythe-Smith quartet is awful. Even the women who are forced to participate in the family ensemble know it, but they can’t escape. You’ll love this one. 

 And…ending with my latest release SECOND CHANCE HERO, part of my Palm Cove Tales series. 

Second Chance Hero is the follow-up to The Heiress Games trilogy, featuring Serena Douglas, who not only lost the Armington fortune, but also managed to escape the competition without falling in love. 

Or so she thought…It all starts with a new challenge…and bald cat named King Tut. Serena has a chance to win a $10 million fortune. All she needs is a job. Too bad the only one willing to “hire” her is the one man she’s been trying to forget since she was a teenager. 

HURRY! Second Chance Hero is on sale right now for just .99 cents! Snap it up quick before the price goes back up!

AMAZON    /      APPLE BOOKS     /     B&N       /    KOBO

Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “love, laughter and a leap of faith”. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Little Romance with Your Mystery?

On Writing Mysteries with a Romantic Subplot
by Shéa MacLeod
I admit it, I love mysteries, but I always want a bit of romance (or a lot of romance) mixed in. I remember when I first read Agatha Christie. I loved her novels, but I always thought, “You know, this couple would be perfect together. This is the exact moment that we should get a hint they’re going to live happily ever after. I want more romance!”
You might point out that Christie did, in fact, often hint at romantic involvements, but it wasn’t explicit enough for my taste. I don’t mean explicit in the sexual sense, but rather in the sense of romance. Of giving me, the reader, that wonderful satisfaction of knowing that not only have these two people survived a killer and justice been served, but they are now madly in love and their future is bright.
“But it’s hard to get romantic when there’s a dead body involved.”
I beg to differ! There’s something intrinsically romantic about trying to solve a puzzle together, seeking justice together, protecting each other. Isn’t that the heart and soul of a committed relationship? Isn’t that what we all want? Someone to cherish and protect who will do the same for us?
I suppose that is why when I started writing my cozy mysteries, I wanted to make sure that there was always a romantic subplot. Human relationships are the most fascinating thing to me. In fact, they’re usually the reason the victim is murdered in the first place! Jealousy is the dark underbelly of love, and such an excellent motive for murder. So I wanted to explore the various aspects of human relationships. Not just those that resulted in death or betrayal, but those that resulted in happiness.

The beauty of having a long-term protagonist from book to book is that I get to explore those relationships over time. I’m not focused on getting the Happily Ever After by the end of book one (after all, these are not Romantic Mysteries which would require that!), but rather I’m exploring the process of getting to that Happily Ever After over time. That includes the occasional misunderstanding, bump in the road, or even break up in one instance.

But being a romantic at heart (and a reader and writer of romance), I always keep the rules of romance in mind, even when writing a cozy mystery. I want to give my readers satisfying endings. Not just that the mystery is solved, but that the relationship between my heroine and her hero is moving forward. Maybe the pace is slower, but they’re getting there.

And that’s the key, I think, to meeting reader expectations when it comes to romance in mysteries, whether you are writing a full-on romance with a mystery subplot, or a mystery with a romantic subplot. It must be satisfying, always. Because we all live for Happily Ever After. Even when murder is involved.


Shéa MacLeod is the author of the bestselling Lady Rample Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in jazz-era London, as well as the contemporary Viola Roberts Cozy Mysteries.
She lives in the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest where she fuels her writing habit with copious amounts coffee, wine, and chocolate.