Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

Archive for August, 2018

Trimmed to Death – Book Trailer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 25, 2018

Mix together a cocktail for murder, add a few salty suspects, toss in a dollop of sweet humor, and you have the recipe for Trimmed to Death, #15 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

 

 

Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life? Recipes Included!

Early Reviews 

“From fundraiser activity, culinary insights, and probes into Marla’s logic to recipes and romance which pepper the story line and embellish its twists and turns, readers who want a cozy mystery filled with atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure should settle a chair by the fire for a good evening’s read.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“What a great read! Marla and Dalton make a wonderful team… I like how it shows some realistic dimensions to Marla and Dalton’s professional lives. They both are concerned with doing a good job professionally, doing what’s right and having a life of their own. This book is believable, well-written and well-developed. The storyline is fast-paced and keeps readers guessing to the end.” Kathleen K. on Goodreads

“This is Book 15 in the Bad Hair Day Mystery Series. I have read each of these books and they just keep getting better and better…This book is wonderful and I highly recommend it.” Sandy B. on Goodreads

“In Trimmed to Death, Marla once again falls upon a murder; this time while enjoying herself at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. I enjoy following Marla and her escapades. The stories are always light-hearted and easy to read.” Jan K. on Goodreads

TRIMMED TO DEATH, Sept. 25, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-5-5
Print ISBN: 978-0-9985317-6-2

Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica

Pre-Order Your Copy Now:
Amazon Print
Amazon Kindle
iBooks
Kobo
BN Nook
BN Print

Add to Goodreads

 

Posted in Marketing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Too Many Great Posts, Not Enough Time

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 22, 2018

Do you get so caught up in reading blogs, webinars, and posts and/or listening to podcasts, that you get nothing else done? I have been catching up on reading newsletters from my professional writing organizations, trade journals to which I subscribe, plus blogs on marketing and other business aspects of writing. If only I could clear my Inbox, I tell myself, I’d turn my focus to the nine backlist titles that I still have to reissue.

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And yet the more of these articles that I read, the more that keep popping up in my email. Moreover, reading this advice makes me feel terribly guilty. Why am I not able to do all these things? The articles offer wonderful marketing strategies and tips, and yet I’d need to be either thirty years younger to have the energy or three clones to manage it all.

Meanwhile, I am accomplishing nothing else. Is it because I’ve lost my mojo? Or is it that I can’t move on to new material until I get these backlist titles done? Then again, maybe it’s burnout and time for a break. It used to be that I put my writing goals first in the morning before glancing at email or social media. What happened to this self-discipline?

So I’ve decided to skim these articles, file the information for later, and do only what I can for now. It’s more important to move on to the next project. This means I need to practice BICHOK more often – Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. Get off the couch, and go to work.

This goes for you, too, my fellow writers. Let’s pay less attention to the “should” demons (i.e. the things you should be doing) and more time to the work we can control. Your success is only as good as the next book. It’s not dependent on how many social media posts with cute memes you’ve posted.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here Aug 9 – 23 to win a signed advance reading copy of TRIMMED TO DEATH, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Joyce Sweeney’s Plot Clock

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 20, 2018

This past weekend, writing coach Joyce Sweeney gave a workshop on The Plot Clock at the August meeting of Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter. You can sign up for a webinar on this topic at her website: http://www.sweeneywritingcoach.com/. Here’s what I learned. Any errors are due to my misinterpretation.

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Start with this question before you begin plotting: What will happen to your protagonist so he has to change and transform? In a mystery, how will the murder challenge your main character?

Act One of this four-act structure includes the Inciting Event. The person who doesn’t want to change meets an event that will cause him to transform. At this stage, he is reluctant to get involved. He fights against the inevitable until something compelling happens that he can’t avoid. This is called the Binding Point.

Act Two finds the hero entering the special world of the story. In a mystery, this is when the sleuth commits to solving the crime. But the protagonist hasn’t changed yet and makes mistakes. Things go badly for him. As a writer, ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen to this character? He keeps losing ground and struggles to carry on until he reaches a Low Point. This happens in the middle of the book.

In Act Three, the hero determines to improve and fight on. By doing the right thing, he gains ground. He may have followed the wrong path and has changed direction. Now he is on the proper trail. But we still need to escalate tension. As the protagonist gets closer to identifying the murderer, the bad guy reacts. More deaths may occur. Attempts on the hero’s life might threaten him. The sleuth is doing better at solving the crime, but the killer is now on to him. For every action the hero makes, the villain makes a countermove.

The Turning Point comes out of left field and moves us into Act Four. Nobody could have anticipated this plot twist. It derails the main character so that he questions his purpose and wants to quit, or “turn away.” Here you must raise the stakes so he can’t quit. He rallies and “turns back” to solve the mystery.

The Climax comes close to the end. You should be layering in the explanations about the suspects’ motives so the Denouement is short and doesn’t drag on.

For more details, visit Joyce’s site at http://www.sweeneywritingcoach.com/

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here Aug 9 – 23 to win a signed advance reading copy of TRIMMED TO DEATH

 

Posted in Fiction Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cover Reveal – Writing the Cozy Mystery 2nd Edition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 16, 2018

Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition by Nancy J. Cohen

 

WRITING THE COZY MYSTERY Expanded Edition eBook

 

Do you want to write a cozy mystery but don’t have a clue where to start? Or are you in the middle of a story and stuck on the plot? Perhaps you’re already writing a series, and you need tips on keeping your material fresh. Writing the Cozy Mystery will help you develop your characters, establish the setting, plot the story, add suspense, plant clues and sustain your series. This Second Edition contains more examples; additional writing exercises; expanded sections; and seven new chapters including The Muddle in the Middle, Romance and Murder, Special Considerations for Cozy Writers, Keeping a Series Fresh, Writing the Smart Synopsis, Mystery Movies, and Marketing Tips. You’ll find everything you need to know in an easy-to-read, clear manner to write your own mystery and maintain a long-running series. Recommended for cozy writers, mystery fans, and creative writing classes.

“If you are thinking about writing a cozy mystery, read this book first! Nancy lays out all the necessary steps in an interesting and informative way that is easy to follow. This book was an invaluable tool when I wrote my first cozy. Highly recommended.” Catherine Bruns, USA Today Bestselling Author

“Nancy J. Cohen offers clear examples, practical writing exercises, and friendly advice designed to help the beginning cozy author start—and finish!—a saleable book. Even seasoned cozy writers can find helpful hints for building better characters and story.” Diane A.S. Stuckart, aka Ali Brandon, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries

“If you want to write a cozy mystery—or really, any kind of mystery—this is the book for you! Everything you need to know in one handy volume.” Victoria Thompson, Bestselling Author of the Gaslight Mystery Series

Digital Edition: ISBN 978-0-9985317-2-4, $3.99, Nov. 12, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Print Edition: ISBN 978-0-9985317-3-1, $9.99, Nov. 12, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Cover Design and Graphic Illustrations by
Boulevard Photografica

Print Pages: 130 pages. Word Count: 28,000 words
Nonfiction – Reference – Writing Guide
First edition has over 180 reviews with a 4.5 average rating!

Pre-Order Your Copy Now:

Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2MHOZRH
Amazon Kindlehttps://amzn.to/2Pbmwoh
iBooks:
https://apple.co/2JVdQ6E
BN Nook: http://bit.ly/2yImTCz
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2tFjsqC
Universal Link: http://books2read.com/cozymystery
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40642868-writing-the-cozy-mystery

GIVEAWAYS

Enter Here to win one of two signed advance reading copies of Trimmed to Death, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

Last 2 days to enter the Booklover’s Bench contest for a $25 Amazon/BN Gift card. Go Here to enter.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Hair Brained Large Print Edition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 8, 2018

The Large Print Edition of Hair Brained is now available!

Large Print

ISBN: 9781432852771, $26.99, August 8, 2018; Wheeler Publishing

Murder on the Beach Bestseller List
Finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards

Large print editions are great if you want to reduce eye strain. Order your own copy or ask your librarian to order the book for you. Reviews are always appreciated.

When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son and becomes embroiled in another murder mystery. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident. But who would want to kill Tally—or Ken in the car with her? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. But it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk.

“You are always thinking and on your toes while reading this book.  And when you get to the end and everything is revealed….it will blow your mind!” Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“Spending time with Marla and Dalton is like visiting old friends and I think Hair Brained is one of Ms. Cohen‘s better entries in the series.” Buried Under Books

“The story actually has a couple of mysteries within its pages and all is worked out by the end, but there are a lot of plot twists along the way.” Carla Loves to Read

“From page one, you’ll hang on every word as the twists and turns of the mystery are revealed and Marla goes into overdrive to prove that the friends she trusted all this time were definitely worthy of that trust.” Amy Lignor, Suspense Magazine

Order a Copy Now or Buy a Copy for a Friend.

Gale/Cengage: http://bit.ly/2Gval13
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JzmTpZ
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2l3afV4

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card at Booklover’s Bench

 

Posted in Marketing, New Release | Tagged: , , , , | 18 Comments »

A Funeral and A Wedding

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 6, 2018

Last week brought both sadness and joy as we were called unexpectedly to a funeral and then hosted a bridal shower to celebrate our daughter’s upcoming nuptials.

It began on Sunday past when we got a call that my brother-in-law had passed away. I spent that morning making travel arrangements. On Monday, we flew to Maryland. We joined our immediate family for dinner at a trendy restaurant near the hotel. I had roast chicken with mushroom polenta.

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The next day we visited with my husband’s niece until it was time for the gravesite service. We saw many friends and relatives there. Rest in peace, Bobby.

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Another meal followed before we were left with our memories and a flight home on Wednesday. Not a moment to dawdle, as on Friday our daughter’s future in-laws were coming to town, and I’d invited them for dinner. Thursday was spent cooking along with hair and nails appointments. Friday we got the house in order before everyone arrived. I picked up the cake for the bridal shower and stuck it in the fridge. We had a lovely dinner together with our soon-to-be new family.

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Saturday morning, I rushed out to get the flowers, and we loaded our cars with party favors and other supplies. The event was to be held at Brio Tuscan Grille, where they’d partitioned off a private area with a curtain. We had the tables arranged in a U-Shape. Friends and relatives arrived to celebrate the joyous event with us.

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It was a great day, and we have many happy memories. In another month, we’ll attend a second shower, Bouchercon mystery writers’ conference, and Rosh Hashanah dinner all within a week. Let’s hope we only have happy times ahead as we cherish each day and each person who makes our lives meaningful. Blessings to you all.

 

Posted in That's Life | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

 
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