Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

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

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    Facials Can Be Fatal

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

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    Haunted Hair Nights

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    Permed to Death

    Bad Hair Day Mystery #1

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Archive for the ‘Book Excerpt’ Category

Murder by Manicure Audiobook

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 10, 2017

Murder by Manicure Audiobook, book #3 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs.

MURDER BY MANICURE (2400)

Hairstylist Marla Shore joins a fitness club to get in shape but discovers a dead body instead of an exercise routine. Jolene Myers, a client at Marla’s salon, has drowned beneath the frothing waters of the whirlpool. When Detective Dalton Vail determines Jolene’s death was no accident, Marla decides to give her deductive skills a workout and help solve the case.

Excerpt:

Arnie wrung his hands. “She’s a former classmate. We went to high school together, and she had a crush on me. The ugliest dog in school, that was her. A real fresser, too. Ate everything in sight. And now she’s here! Oy vey, what am I going to do?”

“What do you mean?” Marla glanced furtively at the reception area, hoping her next client would be delayed. Arnie needed her, making her nurturing instincts surface.

“Hortense is in town. She wants to see me. She’s on her way over here.”

“So? You can exchange a few reminiscences and then she’ll leave.”

He leaned forward, breathing heavily. “You don’t understand. She likes me. Hortense said she’d been sorry to learn my wife had passed away, and how difficult it must be for me to raise two kids on my own. I could tell from her tone of voice that she’s still interested in me.”

“Hortense never married?”

“She’s divorced.” His brows drew together. “I said the only thing I could think of to get rid of her. I told her I was engaged.”

Marla smiled gently. “Arnie, how could you? The poor woman probably just wants an hour of your time.”

“No, no. She’s moving back to Palm Haven. I had to discourage her. Tell me you’ll play along. I knew you wouldn’t mind, since you’re such a good friend.” Taking her by the elbow, he steered her into the rear storeroom. “She’ll come to the salon. Tell her off for me, would you please?”

“Me?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why would she come here?”

His eyes grew as round as bagel holes when the front door chimed. “That may be Hortense,” he croaked. “Marla, you have to save me.”

How bad could this woman be to make Arnie so afraid of her? Intensely curious, Marla strode toward the reception desk.

The woman standing by the counter wasn’t the ugly horse Arnie had depicted. Nor was she Marla’s next client. A tall, sexy blonde, she wore a short skirt and bolero jacket with black high heels. Wavy hair cascaded like a river down her back. A delicate lilac fragrance wafted around her.

“This is Marla Shore,” said the receptionist. “She owns Cut ’N Dye.”

“Hi, I’m Hortense Crone.” The woman grinned, displaying a row of perfectly aligned teeth. “I was told Arnie Hartman came in here. Y’all can call me Jill; I use my middle name now,” she added, extending her hand.

Marla exchanged a firm handshake. This was Hortense? A bubble of laughter welled within her. Would Arnie be surprised to see what a looker his classmate had turned into!

“He’s in the storeroom. I’ll get him for you. Hey, Arnie,” she called, eagerly anticipating his reaction. “Someone here to see you.”

All eyes in the salon turned in their direction as Arnie shuffled toward the front, gaze downcast like a condemned man.

“Congratulations, Arnie,” crooned Hortense. “You have a lovely fiancée.”

Marla, entertained by Arnie’s sudden, shocked glare as he raised his eyes, didn’t catch on right away until she heard snickers from her staff.

“Don’t tell me,” she said to Hortense. “Arnie told you we’re engaged?”

Listen to a sample from Murder by Manicure Audiobook

ORDER NOW

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If you haven’t tried audiobooks, here are some good reasons to check them out:
• A story can come to life in a new way when read by a professional narrator.
• You can listen while working out, driving, or doing chores around the house.
• If you have trouble reading due to vision problems, you can listen to a story instead.
• If you buy the ebook along with the audiobook, you can switch devices using Whispersync and never lose your place.

How to listen to audiobooks on your phone, Kindle, tablet, or computer: https://www.audible.com/mt/Apps

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Pirates – Fact or Fiction?

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 7, 2017

Research Notes: Pirates – Fact or Fiction?

Pirates have always fascinated readers. Witness the myriad romance novels wherein the hero, or even the heroine, is a pirate. How about the swashbuckling movies featuring pirate heroes? Yet for all their romantic image, these scourges of the high seas reaped death and destruction in their wake. We tend to overlook the reality and cling to the fictional counterpart.

Pirate With A Treasure Of Gold Behind A Lot Of Candles

Florida has a romanticized pirate named José Gaspar. Tampa has a Gasparilla Pirate Fest every year to celebrate this renowned character. So how does this apply to Facials Can Be Fatal, my latest Bad Hair Day Mystery featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail?

GasparillaParade

Marla uncovers an old family journal belonging to a lady who died while getting a facial at her day spa. This journal tells about a pirate and his buried treasure. Here is a conversation Marla and her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, have with a journalist in Key West. My fictionalized pirate is based on the Gasparilla legend. The reporter is speaking.

“I recalled the story of the infamous brigand known as Red Ted. Born Thaddeus Montoya, he was a nobleman’s son from Spain whose exploits with the ladies caused his hasty departure aboard a naval vessel. Because he could read and write, he rose to officer’s status and got himself appointed as a liaison to the court. But his old habits died hard, and he once again found himself fleeing Spanish authorities. He commandeered a ship and set sail, forcing the crew to either join him or be hanged. His nickname came from his fondness for bloodshed.

“Wanting to get even with Spain, he set out for the next decade to raid helpless merchant ships. But his inflated ego eventually caused his demise. Before his last voyage, Red Ted was getting set to retire. He’d loaded his goods onto a mule train and told his second in command to take it to Key West, where he planned to hole up in his later years. Then a sighting came for one more merchant ship that appeared to be unarmed. He couldn’t resist this last kill and set sail. The vessel turned out to be a warship hiding under a merchant flag, and Red Ted shot himself rather than be captured.”

“What happened to his mule train?” Marla asked.

“They were attacked by Indians on the route south. The natives made off with horses and mules and left them with fewer pack animals. They had to lighten their load and so buried some of the chests. They didn’t have much better luck as they headed into swampland and were beset by storms as well as bandits. With dwindling resources, they buried more loads along the way.”

How do these past events relate to the present? Facials Can Be Fatal has real journal entries from my father’s 1935 trip to Florida. He discovered a buried chest along the wilds of Fort Lauderdale beach. What was in this chest? In my fictional tale, it’s something quite different than what my father found. Read more in Facials Can Be Fatal.

What’s your favorite pirate movie?

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FacialsCanBeFatalFront

Facials Can Be Fatal (Bad Hair Day Mystery #13)

Salon owner Marla Vail’s new day spa hits a snag when a client dies during a facial. To salvage her reputation, Marla jumps on the trail of the killer. Soon she’s unraveling clues involving historic buildings, family journals, pirates, and shipwrecks off the Florida coast. The victim may have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep.

Amazon   Barnes and Noble   iBooks

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Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench

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Posted in Book Excerpt, Research, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Behind the Scenes

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 6, 2017

If you’re interested in behind the scenes details on Facials Can Be Fatal, my new book release, check out these guest blog posts. Some of them offer giveaways for commenters. Get your bid in before the tour ends. Comments must be made on the site listed. Please support my tour hosts! Hint — One of these posts tells about a derivative of human hair that may end up in your baked goods.

March 3 – Brooke Blogs – “History, Mystery, and Buried Family Secrets” GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY

March 4 – Kings River Life Magazine – REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – “Hair is Gold” GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY

March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY

March 6 – The Revolving Book – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – The Pop Culture Divas – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – A Holland Reads – “Backstage at a Fashion Show” CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – “Theme Parks – Fun or Fearsome?” GUEST POST, EXCERPT, and GIVEAWAY

March 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

For the full list of tour stops, Go Here.

blog tour

Cozy Mystery Giveaway, Feb. 28 – March 6
LAST DAY! Enter Here to win up to 40+ cozy mysteries, including an ebook copy of Hair Raiser.

Tropical Treats Giveaway, Feb. 21 – March 14
Enter Here to win a Tropical Treats package with a blue scarf, a blue crystal pendant necklace from Effy, a West Indies cookbooks, and a signed hardcover copy of Killer Knots (Bad Hair Day Mystery #9).

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

 

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Posted in Appearances, Author Interviews, Book Excerpt, Book Reviews, Contest, Excerpt, New Release, Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Virtual Book Tour

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 1, 2017

My official book blog tour starts today. I hope you’ll follow along and leave comments to support my tour hosts. Some of these posts offer individual prizes. I keep adding new sites, so check my Appearances page often. I’ll do my conference posts from the FRW cruise and SleuthFest on days when I am not a guest elsewhere. See you on the tour!

Blog Tour

Feb. 28Christa Reads and Writes – BOOK REVIEW

Feb. 28 – Terry’s Place CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

March 1 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

March 1 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 1 – The Big Thrill – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 2 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 2 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 3 – Brooke Blogs – “History, Mystery, and Buried Family Secrets” GUEST POST, EXCERPT

March 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 4 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

March 4 – Kings River Life Magazine – REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – “Hair is Gold” GUEST POST

March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 6 – The Revolving Book – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – The Pop Culture Divas – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – A Holland Reads – “Backstage at a Fashion Show” CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – “Theme Parks – Fun or Fearsome?” GUEST POST, EXCERPT, and GIVEAWAY

March 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

And in case you missed these:

Jan. 14Life of Writers, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Feb. 11 – Carla Loves to Read, BOOK REVIEW

Feb. 22 – Dru’s Book Musing“A Day In The Life” CHARACTER POST

Feb. 22: Socrates Book Reviews, BOOK REVIEW

Feb. 23 – I Wish I Lived in a Library, BOOK REVIEW

Feb. 24, Omnimystery News, SPOTLIGHT

Feb. 24, Open Book Society, BOOK REVIEW

 

IN-PERSON

Sunday, March. 5 at 1:00 pm, “Mystery and History”  Discussion and Booksigning with Nancy J. Cohen (Bad Hair Day Mysteries), Alyssa Maxwell (The Gilded Newport Mysteries), and V.S. Alexander (The Magdalen Girls) at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL  33444, Phone: 561-279-7790. http://murderonthebeach.com/

Saturday, March 11, 1:00 pm, “Writing is Revising” with Nancy J. Cohen in Room 108 of the L-building at Florida SouthWestern State College – adjacent to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Check the Lee Campus map here for more details http://www.fsw.edu/about/maps  Park in Lot 7 next to the L-building on Saturday.  http://mwaflorida.org/events/special-events/

March 16-19, Coral Springs Festival of the Arts, http://www.csfoa.com/
Thursday, March 16, 6:00 Meet & Greet Cocktails and Snacks at Coral Springs Center for Performing Arts, Rooms A&B, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065.
Friday, March 17, 6:00 – 6:45 pm, “Conflict and Character” with Nancy J. Cohen at Coral Springs Center for Performing Arts, Rooms A&B, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065.

Sunday, March 19, Signing in the Author’s Tent at “The Walk” between 26th and 29th Streets on the west side of University Drive in Coral Springs, FL

 

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Posted in Appearances, Author Interviews, Book Excerpt, Book Reviews, New Release, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 8 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:

Amazon  Createspace

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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Posted in Book Excerpt, Marketing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 29, 2016

Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime anthology– A bountiful harvest of 12+ cozy mysteries plus a special bonus file of recipes and craft tips. Regular price 99 cents. Look for my original Bad Hair Day cozy mystery novella, “Haunted Hair Nights.”

HH4-LowRes.jpgBonus File

Two-for-One Limited Time Offer: Buy Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime and get Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime absolutely FREE! Two books for the price of one (only 99 cents) –and you get two enormous bonus files full of recipes and craft project ideas for no extra cost. This offer is good from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11. Order Now!

InfographicHH BoxSet2

TONIGHT! August 29, 5:00 – 7:00pm EDT, Facebook Launch Party. Join us for fun and giveaways of gift cards and free books. I’ll be posting at 6:30 pm. https://www.facebook.com/happyhomicides.

Party

Blog Tour August 29 – September 11. Leave comments for more chances to win cool prizes!

Blog Tour
August 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT
August 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
August 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
August 31 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
September 1 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
September 1 – fuonlyknew – SPOTLIGHT
September 2 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
September 2 – My Funny View of Life – REVIEW
September 3 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
September 3 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
September 4 – Book Babble – REVIEW
September 4 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST
September 4 – Dru’s Book Musings – REVIEW
September 4 –Dru’s Book Musings – A Kiki Lowenstein Short Story

September 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
September 6 – Victoria’s Pages of Romance – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
September 8 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW 
September 8 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST
September 9 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, Nancy’s GUEST POST  “A Story for Halloween”
September 10 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
September 11 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, Nancy’s GUEST POST  “Haunted House”
September 11 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – REVIEW

Giveaway Enter to win a tote full of goodies for a fun Fall afternoon http://bit.ly/2b7Cm3I

Prize

For more details, go to http://bit.ly/fallintocrime

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

Permed to Death Audiobook

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 6, 2016

Permed to Death, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series, is now available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions.

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio

Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

audible2    itunes   Amazon

I’ve learned a lot from doing an audiobook for the first time. I’ll be describing the experience in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, my new audiobook needs reviews, so I hope you will help spread the word. For audiobooks, reviews are especially helpful on Audible and iTunes, where you can set up free accounts. But they’re also welcome on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads.

You can listen to audiobooks on your iPhone, tablet computer, or ebook reader device. Have a long car trip or commute coming up? Listen to an audiobook. Do you routinely jog, walk, or spend time on the treadmill? Listen to an audiobook. Have trouble seeing well enough to read lately? An audiobook will fulfill your need with less effort. Want a new way to relieve stress and lower your blood pressure? Lie on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to an audiobook. Keep in mind that you can gift an audiobook to someone else. Also, if you buy the Permed to Death Kindle ebook, you can get the audiobook at a discount.

Listen to these clips from some sample scenes:

Dalton interviews Marla in their first scene together: http://a.co/bhsgokr

Marla discusses events with her mother, Anita: http://a.co/1ae3SPV

Marla discusses the situation with her best friend, Tally: http://a.co/2sNcrPt

Stan is Marla’s nasty ex-spouse in this confrontation: http://a.co/iUFPcTW

Marla overhears her colleagues arguing at her hair salon: http://a.co/1sRVXLd

Todd is the deceased woman’s son: http://a.co/gk6jwC1

Marla and Dalton share a romantic interlude: http://a.co/bxGVAgE

Or make your own clips and send me the links when you post to social media!

Giveaways!

Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) ebook is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580614

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

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CLICK TO TWEET: http://ctt.ec/YUrEk

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Excerpt, Business of Writing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Murder by Manicure

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 24, 2015

I’m excited to announce the Author’s Edition of Murder by Manicure (Bad Hair Day Mystery #3). Murder by Manicure was originally published by Kensington. This edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

Join my Book Launch Party for the Author’s Edition of Murder by Manicure (Bad Hair Day Mystery #3) March 24, from 2-4pm EDT https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty Fun & Giveaways! Guest authors Alyssa Maxwell, Joanna Campbell Slan, and Maggie Toussaint will be joining the party.

Murder by Mancure

Hairstylist Marla Shore joins a fitness club to get in shape but discovers a dead body instead of an exercise routine. Jolene Myers—a client at Marla’s salon—has drowned beneath the frothing waters of the whirlpool. When Homicide Detective Dalton Vail determines Jolene’s death was no accident, Marla decides to give her deductive skills a workout and help solve the case.

Jolene had few friends at the fancy athletic club. As Marla gets to know everyone, she wonders who might have targeted Jolene for a lethal soak in the hot tub. The shady pharmacist? The smarmy city councilman? Or maybe the vocal animal rights activist? The fitness club staff had no fondness for Jolene, either. How far would they go to keep their secrets? When another member turns up dead, Marla intensifies her efforts to nail the killer and wrap the case. If she fails, the next buff body on its way to the morgue might be hers.

“Marla Shore is a beguiling, very clever sleuth who teases out every clue. Absolutely delightful!” Jill Churchill, author of the Jane Jeffry & Grace and Favor mystery series.

“Cohen fashions her Bad Hair Day series with plenty of humor, snappy repartee and even a healthy helping of current events.” The News Press

“In Murder by Manicure, a southern sleuth who’s a cut above the rest pulls out all the stops to wrap up another nail-biting murder that will leave readers eagerly awaiting their next appointment with Marla Shore.” Barnes & Noble Ransom Notes

“Observations about makeup, hair, and apparel mix with humorous, sexy overtones and catty remarks. A solid series addition.” Library Journal

“This series is hilarious and very enjoyable and contains many hijinks.” The Best Reviews

“For the reader who enjoys the twists and turns of a tale by Mary Higgins Clark, Murder by Manicure is a must read!” ReaderToReader.com

BUY LINKS
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International
Add to Goodreads List
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Spring Into Summer Contest—March 24 to April 3
Enter to win a signed hardcover Shear Murder and $10 Starbucks gift card or one of two ebook copies of Hair Raiser http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/

Posted in Book Excerpt, Business of Writing, Contest, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 56 Comments »

Pre-Need Funeral Plans

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 6, 2015

One of the topics I’d researched for Hair Raiser was pre-need funeral plans. I firmly believe people should address this issue before their demise. It saves your loved ones from having to make these choices during a difficult time. You get to choose what you want, and when the time comes, all your heirs have to do is make a phone call. You can pay off the cost in installments, instead of your surviving family members having to come up with a lump sum later on. So don’t avoid the issue and put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Marla interviews a suspect in Hair Raiser who happens to be a funeral director. Her excuse for seeing him is ostensibly to get information on a pre-need plan for herself. I hope you find this interview to be useful for your own planning needs.

Excerpt from Hair Raiser by Nancy J. Cohen

“Let’s talk about funeral plans,” Marla said.

From the way Stefano glowered at her, she figured he was wishing she could make use of one right now.

“Is this going to be a package for two people?” he snarled, pen poised in his fingers. His glance dropped to her ringless left hand.

“No, this is just for me.”

“You should think ahead. At some point in your future, there may be a significant other. I assume we’re talking about a traditional ground burial rather than a mausoleum?”

“I guess so.” She had no wish to be preserved for eternity in a tomb like Romeo and Juliet. Besides, she believed her religion required a ground burial.

“Purchasing two plots now will save you money because land prices keep rising. In the event you don’t need the second plot, we’ll buy it back from you. Consider it a hedge against inflation.” Pushing a chart in front of her, he pointed to various sites marked out in squares. “Which cemetery section appeals to you?”

Marla moistened her lips. “It doesn’t matter, whichever costs less.”

“That would be the newest section.” He circled two spaces. “Do you prefer a chapel or graveside service?”

She gave it serious consideration, mortality being on her mind after viewing Riley’s body and being shot at herself. “A graveside service would be easier on my family, so let’s go with that one. Is there a price difference?” Squinting, she tried to read what was on the upside-down form.

“It’s $420 for use of the chapel as opposed to $275 for a graveside service.” At her nod, he continued. “Next there’s a basic charge for the professional services of the funeral director and staff. That’s $1870. This includes arranging conferences between family and clergy, filing necessary permits, planning the funeral, placement of obituary notices, and coordination with other responsible parties. It also includes administrative expenses for the use of our facilities.”

“I see.”

“You have a choice about embalming. May I ask your religious preference?”

“I’m Jewish.”

He nodded sagely. “Jewish people usually don’t embalm unless you’re going into a mausoleum. It’s my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the religious directive is to return to the earth as quickly as possible.”

“Okay, no embalming.” She felt uncomfortable discussing these choices, but it made sense to do so before you needed them. What a relief for your relatives to make one phone call in the event your prearrangements became necessary. Ma had paid for a plan, and Marla was grateful. She dreaded the day when she’d have to use it, but that was better than having to make hasty decisions later while coping with grief.

“You’re going to have other expenses.” Stefano reversed the general price list so she could see for herself. “Transfer of remains to the funeral home is $290. Use of a hearse will be $275. Dressing and casketing is $145. Since you’re not embalming, refrigeration is required, which costs $395.”

I’d always wanted to die broke, she told herself sardonically. “What’s this opening and closing that you’ve circled?”

“That’s for opening the gravesite and closing it after the service. Also, I recommend a concrete vault. It gives more protection than a concrete liner, which is more porous. Now let’s discuss choice of caskets.” He stood, gesturing for her to follow. “We have a casket room so you can see the selections.”

Oh, joy. She couldn’t wait.

Trailing behind, she entered a room where up to twenty coffins were on display. Detaching herself emotionally wasn’t hard. She didn’t want to think about herself lying in one of those boxes.

“The Jewish religion calls for your casket to be made of all wood, meaning pegged and glued with no metal parts so the body can get back to the earth quickly.” He showed her a few samples. “See, no nails or metal hinges. Or, if you go into a mausoleum, embalming is required along with a sealed metal casket. Choices include steel, copper, and bronze, like this one here.”

Her eyes bulged. The price tag of $37,995 made her throat constrict. Hopefully the ones made from wood were more reasonably priced. She surveyed the different styles ranging from solid mahogany with a polished finish and a champagne velvet interior at a cost of $19,995 to a plain pine box for $795.

“How about this one?” she asked, pointing to a solid poplar design with a polished maple finish and beige crepe interior. It ran mid-price range at $2,695.

Stefano ran his fingers lovingly over the smooth service, his dark eyes gleaming in appreciation. “Beautiful, isn’t it? Of course, if you prefer a velvet interior, we have a similar one for an extra $800.”

“No, I like this. What’s next?” Uncomfortable in the confined space with Stefano looming beside her, she headed through the door and back toward his office.

“Clergy fees, death certificates, prayer books, yarmulkes, acknowledgment cards, a guest sign-in book. Then there’s an archiving fee and sales tax on the merchandise.”

He’d been writing everything down on a proposal form, and now he pulled out a calculator to get the total. “Here’s the best package I can give you,” he said circling a number that made Marla cringe. “We have a payment plan available if you’d like to stretch this out over four years with no interest. It includes our personal protection program. If, God forbid, something happens to you after a year, the rest of the premiums are waived.”

“Terrific. Can I take this home to study?” She’d contact another funeral home to compare prices. Babs had told her Stefano charged exorbitant fees. Upon his approval, she folded the papers and stuffed them into her purse.

“Who handled the arrangements for Ben’s funeral?” she asked, knowing the answer but wondering how he’d react.

He grimaced. “One of the Levinson places took care of him.”

“They weren’t the ones involved in that voodoo case, were they?” She’d read a news article about a mortician convicted of performing voodoo rituals by stuffing dolls stuck with pins into a dead man’s chest cavity and chopping off his hand.

“No, that was somewhere in north Florida.” Thrusting stiff fingers through his gray hair, Stefano regarded her from beneath heavy brows. “Levinson’s is a nation-wide chain. Conglomerates now own more than fifty percent of the mortuaries in this county. Most people don’t realize it when they choose a place. Ownership may have changed hands, but the old names remain on the signs.”

“Doesn’t that hurt your business? Yours is one of the few family-owned firms left.”

“We still provide more personal services than the chains, and their prices tend to be higher. Did you know they charge up to sixty-two percent more than independents for the same items?”

Yeah, right, pal. Like your prices are cheap? “You’ve managed to stay viable.”

“So far.”

“I heard a rumor that Ben was suing you on behalf of some former customers,” she said, switching topics glibly to provoke a response. “Did that have anything to do with Pre-Need plans? What guarantee is there that I’ll get what I pay for?”

He shifted uneasily. “You have to trust me, Marla.”

No problem. I’d trust you like I would a snake.

HAIR RAISERebook (419x640)

NOTE: Hair Raiser (Bad Hair Day Mystery #2) was originally published by Kensington Publishing Corp. This Author’s Edition has been revised and reformatted with added bonus material.

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Free Ebook Warrior Prince

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 29, 2014

Warrior Prince, book one in my Drift Lords series, is free today at The Wild Rose Press and through the weekend until December 3rd. Order for FREE Here

Warrior Prince

Set in a contemporary world woven with magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense, Warrior Prince is based on Norse mythology. Nira Larsen is having a bad day when she gets attacked at a seedy employment office in Orlando, FL. Rushing to her defense is a team of men clad in black and carrying futuristic weapons. Their leader offers her a proposal. He and his men are strangers in town, and they need a local guide. Would Nira be interested in taking the job? Eager to earn extra money, she accepts. Thus begins her descent into a nightmare of ancient prophesies, legendary myths, and danger.

Drift Lord leader Zohar Thorald recognizes Nira as one of the prophesied women destined to prevent a coming apocalypse, and he determines to keep her safe. But can he keep himself safe from her charms? Not only does she have the power to defeat the enemy but she could easily enslave his soul.

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“With a mix of humor and action, this exciting intergalactic romance is based on an Old Norse legends brought up to date for a new generation…Warrior Prince is not only a great romance but it’s about two strong people. This journey is fast paced and exciting as our characters fight the bad guys and find true love.”—Night Owl Reviews

“For a funny bone tingling non-stop action and adventure sci-fi thriller with a swirl of romance, Nancy J. Cohen’s Drift Lords series is one you won’t want to pass up.”—Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

“This is a most enjoyable tale, with suspense in more than ample supply, leavened with romance, mystery, and mythology. Cohen excels, too, in creating memorable and quirky characters, both ‘real’ world and mythic. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy!” —Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore

“Cohen’s Drift Lord series weaves science fiction, fantasy, and ancient Norse mythology into a sexy tapestry of action, adventure, and love.”—Muddy Rose Reviews

 

Order for FREE Here

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