Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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    Hanging by a Hair, a Bad Hair Day Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen

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Writing and Recreation

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 16, 2017

These two terms seem to be mutually exclusive, right? Actually, what I’m doing these days is mostly marketing. With a new book release and two conferences next month, it’s essential to be supremely organized. So here are some of the things I did this past week. Why mention them here? I have to be accountable to someone, and you’re it. Besides, this will give you some idea of what goes into book promotion. This does not count my daily visits to social media.

· Post the blog tour dates on my website for Facials Can Be Fatal – Done.
· Create the posts for my Facebook launch party on Feb. 22 and schedule them ahead of time – Done.
· Configure my next contest, get the Rafflecopter code, and load to my sites – Done.
· Complete interview at
Life of Writers and share to social media – Done.
· Track reviews for Facials Can Be Fatal on Goodreads and for Hair Raiser audiobook on Audible – Done.
· Prepare handouts and complete PowerPoint for next month’s writing workshops – Done.
· Contact panelists and devise questions for panels I’m moderating at Sleuthfest – Ongoing.
· Prepare my February newsletter – Done. Sign up now if you want a copy!
· Prepare blog post for the Feb. 22 release of Facials Can Be Fatal – Done.
· Order copies of books for upcoming events – Done.

That’s enough. You get the picture. I’m in a marketing phase. It’s necessary to set aside a couple of weeks to prepare for a book launch. I’ll be speaking on this topic on Friday afternoon at SleuthFest. I hope you’ll join us if you’re attending.

For a welcome break, we enjoyed dinner Friday night at All That Jazz Café in Sunrise. A jazz band played while we dined on a delicious dinner of pecan-crusted salmon, broccoli, and rice pilaf. It was a pleasant diversion from a work-filled week.

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Saturday, we took our afternoon exercise at Plantation Preserve Trail. It’s always an invigorating walk.

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On Sunday, I felt like using up some ingredients in our fridge, so I made blueberry pancakes and an omelet with cheddar cheese and fried salami. Not too healthy, right? Then we took a long walk at Sawgrass Mills Mall to burn off the calories.

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I hope to get caught up in my chores so the Muse will turn back on, and I can plot my next book. In the meantime, have a great week!

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Posted in Business of Writing, Florida Musings, Food, Marketing, That's Life, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Highlights to Heaven Author Edition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 10, 2017

I’m pleased to announce the reissue of Highlights to Heaven. This title, #5 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, was originally published by Kensington. My new Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

Highlights to Heaven

Hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Shore lands a case close to home when her animal-loving neighbor—a man aptly named Goat—disappears, leaving his pets alone and a dead body in his master bedroom. Even more disturbing is the pattern of highlights Marla notes in the victim’s hair. She recognizes the signature technique of her former mentor, master stylist Cutter Corrigan. Soon she’s untangling clues that link Goat, Cutter, and the unsavory pet fur trade to her own past. Someone at her former beauty school has a hair-raising secret worth killing to keep.

Author Chat with Nancy J. Cohen tonight 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/ Two lucky commenters will win an advance reading copy of Facials Can Be Fatal (Bad Hair Day Mystery #13) at tonight’s event.


Story Excerpt:

She opened Goat’s mailbox and retrieved his correspondence. Juggling a large manila envelope in one hand together with the dog’s leash, and a stack of assorted items in the other, she proceeded along the dimly lit sidewalk. Words scribbled on the front of the large envelope jumped out at her as she lengthened the line to let Spooks do his business.

“Articles on Harperites enclosed” read the message.

How strange. Had Goat sent for these? Why was he interested in Martha Matilda Harper’s followers? According to the return address, the sender was a woman, Jenny Stanislaw, from Mount Dora. This case got more curious by the moment.

Goat had been reading up on a famous icon in hairdressing history. He becomes associated with a dead man who might have a connection to Cutter Corrigan, master stylist. Did the past provide some sort of link between the three of them?

She signaled Spooks it was time to move on. They’d only stepped a few paces ahead when something slammed into her shoulder from behind with the force of a deranged flamingo.

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Order Now:

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Note: The original edition is still available from Open Road Media in ebook format at all online retail sites.

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Enter Jan. 1–18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Leave a comment on Nancy’s Let’s Talk post this week to win an ebook copy of Permed to Death Author’s Edition.

 

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Fun Weekend

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 9, 2017

I finished all corrections for Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day #14) last week and printed out a clean copy. To celebrate this accomplishment, I took time off this weekend to relax and have some fun. Friday night started with the 20th anniversary party at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore.

I remember when this store used to be in Miami. It was a shlep to go down there but worth the effort to see the friendly face of Joanne Sinchuk, proprietor. Always supportive of authors, Joanne has hosted many book events at her store through the years. Now located in Delray Beach, the bookstore has a prime spot in a busy shopping area. Members from the Florida Chapter of MWA were present along with members from Florida Romance Writers. We mingled with readers and chatted about books. Delicious appetizers from a nearby restaurant tempted our palates. Congrats to Murder on the Beach for twenty years in the business!

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Saturday morning, my husband and I took a walk in Ann Kolb Nature Center. It was glorious weather in the eighties until the clouds rolled in. We walked along viewing the mangrove roots and holes for the land crabs and the wide lake.

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We lunched on the Intracoastal Waterway in GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill in Hollywood, FL. I like the elegant ambiance here with a water view where you can watch the yachts cruise by. The food is excellent. Our meal started with crusty French bread served with butter and hummus dip. The starter course was delectable mushrooms in miso broth. And our grilled salmon was perfect with roasted Brussel sprouts and butternut squash puree. This restaurant is a great place to take out-of-town guests or to hold a special event.

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Booklovers Bench

Booklovers Bench

Enter Jan. 1 – 18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Leave a comment on Nancy’s Let’s Talk post this week to win an ebook copy of Permed to Death Author’s Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Setting Goals

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 4, 2017

At the beginning of every year, I set writing goals. These are further divided into Creative and Business Goals. I am always hoping that I can cut back on my activities, to spend more time at leisure, to do more things around the house, or to go places with my husband. But 2017 will be busier than ever. I am still slogging through my backlist mystery titles to revise all of them so I can offer new print editions as well as audiobooks. So here we go with my ambitious list. Let’s pray for good health and strength of purpose so many of these get done.

Setting Goals

CREATIVE GOALS

· Finish Hair Brained, Bad Hair Day Mystery #14. This story is written and has been through the various editing stages. I keep proof-reading and finding things to improve. This time, I am printing out a clean copy. I’ll put this aside for a couple of months. Then I’ll do a last reading before sending it to production.

· Plot the next story, Bad Hair Day Mystery #15, tentatively titled Trimmed to Death.

· Continue the audiobook process with Murder by Manicure and Body Wave.

· Revise backlist mystery titles Died Blonde and Dead Roots.

· Write a short story or another novella in my mystery series.

BUSINESS GOALS

· Write blogs for upcoming blog tour to promote Facials Can Be Fatal.

· Publish Highlights to Heaven Author’s Edition (Bad Hair Day Mystery #5).

· Hold book launch parties for new releases.

· Enter Facials Can Be Fatal in writing contests and keep up with reviews.

· Engage with readers via newsletter, blogs and social media sites.

· Expand Writing the Cozy Mystery into a second edition.

Lots of goals; not enough time. I didn’t even mention the other mystery I have waiting in the wings that isn’t a Marla story. I’d really like to get my backlist titles done so this project is complete. Then there are my old romance titles that could use facelifts. Where can I get a few clones to do all these jobs?

How are you doing with your goal-setting? Think in terms of writing, not how much more you need to exercise or watch your diet or play with your dog. Those are givens. What’s the one thing you most want to accomplish this year in your writing career or in your book reading?

Giveaways

Booklovers Bench, Jan. 1 – 18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench 

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Cover Reveal – Highlights to Heaven

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 30, 2016

I’m pleased to share an exciting new cover for the upcoming reissue of Highlights to Heaven. This title, #5 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, was originally published by Kensington. The Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

HIGHLIGHTS TO HEAVENeBook

Release Date: January 10, 2017
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN 13: 978-0-9970038-5-7
Print ISBN 13: 978-0-9970038-6-4

Cover Design by Patty G. Henderson at http://boulevardphotografica.yolasite.com/
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com

Hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Shore lands a case close to home when her animal-loving neighbor—a man aptly named Goat—disappears, leaving his pets alone and a dead body in his master bedroom. Even more disturbing is the pattern of highlights Marla notes in the victim’s hair. She recognizes the signature technique of her former mentor, master stylist Cutter Corrigan.

Wanting to impress sexy Detective Dalton Vail, she hurries to interview Cutter first so she’ll have the inside scoop. Soon she’s untangling clues that link Goat, Cutter, and the unsavory pet fur trade to her own past. Someone at her former beauty school has a hair-raising secret worth killing to keep.

While Marla and Dalton chase leads despite their growing attraction for each other, the body count rises. And the closer Marla gets to the truth, the more she puts her life in peril. She’d better unmask the culprit before she becomes the next target.

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“Full of twists and turns, great characters, and an interesting setting. Who could ask for more?” Denise Swanson, author of the Scumble River mystery series

“If you want a mind-candy read somewhat reminiscent of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you’ll enjoy Highlights to Heaven by Nancy J. Cohen.” Duffbert’s Random Musings

“Highlights to Heaven is a treat and just might be the answer to your quest for a gift for your hairdresser or manicurist!” Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore

“For a quick escape from the chaos of the holidays, look no further than the latest Bad Hair Day mystery. Cohen outdoes herself, delivering a story that’s flirty, fun, witty, yet suspenseful and intense.” 4 Stars! RT Book Reviews

“Fun Florida settings and adorable eccentrics make a popular series.” Inkwood Books

“Lively fun.” Library Journal

Pre-Order Now: http://amzn.to/2iM7KUj

CLICK TO TWEET

Leave a comment below for a chance to win an advance reading copy of Facials Can Be Fatal. That’s my New Year’s gift to you. Random drawing on January 1st. Winner will be announced here. Open to U.S. Residents only.

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Year-End Review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 28, 2016

Year-End Review of Writing Goals

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to review what you’ve accomplished as a writer and what goals you’ll carry forward to the following year. Aside from my personal goals of eating healthier, exercising more, and spending time with family, I set career goals. These are further divided into creative and business objectives. So let’s see how I’ve done.

Goals

WRITING GOALS

· Finish Hair Brained, #14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries – IN PROGRESS.

· Publish Permed to Death revised Author’s Edition (Bad Hair Day #1) – DONE.

· Commence audiobook process via ACX, starting with Permed to Death – DONE.

· Revise backlist mystery titles Highlights to Heaven, Died Blonde and Dead Roots – INCOMPLETE. I’ve finished Highlights to Heaven, and it’s set for release in January. The others will carry over into the new year.

BUSINESS GOALS

· Enter Peril by Ponytail in writing contests – DONE. This title won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. 

· Consider bundling books 1-3 in the Bad Hair Day series as a box set for the holidays – NOT DONE. This goal has been set aside until all nine of my original titles from Kensington are available in revised Author’s Editions.

· Hold launch parties for each reissued backlist title and for the audiobooks – DONE.

· Plan promo campaign for Facials Can Be Fatal to be released Feb. 22, 2017 – IN PROGRESS. I’ve scheduled my blog tour, sent ARCs to reviewers, done the book trailer, and held a Goodreads giveaway. There’s more to do.

· Engage with readers via newsletter, blogs and social media sites – ONGOING.

· Learn how to put my lectures on Power Point – DONE. I am proud of this one. I try to learn something new each year, and this was it.

Extra Accomplishments

I edited and published Florida Escape by Harry I. Heller. This is my father’s account of his 1935 journey to Florida and the adventures he experienced during the state’s simpler days. Excerpts from Florida Escape are used in Facials Can Be Fatal, so now the true historic tale is available to readers in ebook format.

I wrote Haunted Hair Nights, a Bad Hair Day mystery novella. This was published first in the Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime anthology and later as a standalone edition in print and digital formats.

So even though 2016 didn’t see any releases from Five Star, I published the following:

March 4, 2016: Permed to Death Author’s Edition
June 7, 2016: Florida Escape by Harry I. Heller
June 27, 2016: Permed to Death Audiobook
Aug. 29, 2016: Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime
Oct. 13, 2016: Haunted Hair Nights
Nov. 7, 2016: Hair Raiser Audiobook

I’d say that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you? CLICK TO TWEET

Resource: https://thewritelife.com/year-end-review-for-your-writing/

Did you accomplish all you’d set out to do this year?

 

 

 

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Coco Cay

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 23, 2016

The water in the Bahamas is a beautiful aqua, and I might have been tempted to go in except it was very windy when we tendered to Coco Cay on the third day of our cruise. RCCL’s private island is an oasis with native shops, a nature trail, small coves for snorkeling, and numerous beaches with lounge chairs already laid out.

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We enjoyed the beach barbecue with chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and accompaniments. Somehow this food tastes better outside and when someone else cooks it.

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I savor these private island stops both for the relaxation and the food. And don’t forget to order a Bahama Mama. You can’t visit these islands without drinking at least one. Or a Coco Loco, which they offered at Coco Cay. As the drink vendors said, “If you’re hot, see what I’ve got.”

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We lazed around until we’d had enough sun and then caught the tender back to the ship.

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At night, we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a champagne toast. And so ended our latest cruise.

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View all the photos HERE.

 

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A Day in Nassau

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 22, 2016

Our first port of call on Majesty of the Seas was Nassau. Having been here before, we didn’t care to take a tour and elected instead to find a place for lunch.

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I’d read about a native Bahamian restaurant and wanted to check it out. Several blocks later, we entered the place on a quiet side street. Nobody was there, and so we left. It’s not a good sign if a restaurant lacks customers. We retraced our steps and chose an air-conditioned place by the water called Via Restaurant and Bar. Our grilled snapper was delicious but spicy. It came with cole slaw plus rice and beans. You can find lots of places to eat along the waterfront including Senor Frog by the far end.

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We shopped on Bay Street despite the intermittent downpours and ended up buying inexpensive umbrellas to add to our collection. Stores were decorated for Christmas. The straw market is still here and under cover. I bought a hat since I’d forgotten to bring mine. The usual souvenirs are available along with fine jewelry, liquor, and perfumes on Bay Street. Know your prices before you go.

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If you’re here for the first time, you can do a city tour, view the fort, visit the Atlantis resort, or participate in a number of water sports activities. I regret that RCCL didn’t offer a culinary experience or any kind of botanical garden if there is one on the island. However, the rainy weather made our independent choice the best one.

View all the photos HERE.

Next Post: Coco Cay

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Majesty of the Seas

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 21, 2016

We took our adult children on a weekend cruise to celebrate our fortieth anniversary. The older Royal Caribbean vessel left out of Port Canaveral. This was our first time at this port, which seemed less hectic than Port Everglades. Besides our ship on Friday, only one other was docked there and it belonged to Disney. We parked in a garage opposite the terminal and boarded before noon.

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Lunch was available in the Windjammer Café on Deck 12. The buffet setup was much smaller than on our other recent cruises, and I vaguely remembered being here before. We’d sailed on this ship back in 1992.

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Although an older model, the ship is well-maintained and clean. There’s only one pool area on Deck 12 without a secondary glass-covered solarium pool. Elsewhere, there’s a rock climbing wall for sports enthusiasts. You can also go outside on Deck 7 and walk around the deck there for exercise or lounge in a chair facing the water.

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Our oceanview cabin on deck four was tiny, with a small desk that also served as a dresser. Inside the small bathroom, the rectangular shower space had a good showerhead on a removable hose and a curtain instead of a glass door. Lotion, shampoo, and conditioner were provided. I wasn’t as comfortable here as on other recent ships we’ve been on, but it’s a less expensive cruise and we managed for the three nights. This sailing is good for a quick getaway that isn’t as expensive as some other ships, and it has an appealing itinerary with two ports of call. The cruise staff was friendly and worked hard to give guests a memorable experience.

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Shops were located on Deck 5 and had better merchandise than on the larger and newer Celebrity Equinox, our most recent voyage. The shows were entertaining with a comedian, juggler, and singers/dancers. If you’re a night owl, other activities are offered to keep you occupied. The Schooner Lounge had a musician nightly, and you could find dance music in another lounge.

Deck 14 has the Viking Crown Lounge, always a favorite of mine with its panoramic view toward the bow with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. This is where Diamond Members and above could get their free cocktails and appetizers each evening at 5pm.

We’d opted for assigned seats in the dining room at 6pm and luckily had a table for four. The food was very good, although the choices were not as classy as on Celebrity Equinox. You had to pay extra for filet mignon or lobster. The bread selection was varied enough, and a different salad was offered each night. On the second night, the waiters danced along to a conga line. On the last night, they serenaded us with “O Solo Mio” to go along with our Italian cuisine. Other dining options included Johnny Rockets for a small fee, Sorrentos for free pizza, and a deli with appetizers and wraps. For early birds, Sorrentos is open early with coffee and pastries. 

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The Windjammer opens at 7am in the morning for breakfast. I liked that they offered prepared fried eggs although you could have your eggs or omelets cooked to order. Half and half is available in little cups to go with your coffee.

There’s a ceremony of flags in the atrium where the cruise director announces the number of crew members from each country. This was an impressive display along with a few selected native dances. We also attended the welcome back party for repeat cruisers, and Richard won 100 credits in the casino. It took us a while to figure out how to play the slots. It took us less time to play and lose all the points. I’d rather spend my money on souvenirs I can bring home. Note Santa hiding in the crowd on the below right.

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Now I have to work to lose the weight I’d gained. So it goes each time after a cruise.

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View all the photos HERE.

Next Posts: Nassau and Coco Cay

 

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Cozumel

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 14, 2016

Cozumel, Mexico

Ships can dock at several different piers in Cozumel. Our pier had a concrete shopping center with a wide variety of native goods, jewelry, and liquor. We passed on catching a taxi into town or doing a shore excursion, having been here before. Instead, we spent several hours browsing the port shops and buying some beautiful woven blankets.

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We ate lunch at Senor Frogs by the water, enjoying Bahama Mamas and splitting a beef fajita. The food was good and the rum was plentiful. By the time we boarded the ship, we were both ready for a nap.

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Cozumel has beautiful crystal-clear water that is perfect for water sport enthusiasts. As Floridians with our own swimming pool and beaches, we chose to go shopping instead. Besides, we’re coming back here in February on the conference cruise sponsored by Florida Romance Writers.

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And so ends our cruise aboard the Celebrity Equinox. I hope you’ve enjoyed my journal entries.

 

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