Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

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Archive for the ‘The Writing Life’ Category

Blog Tour for Trimmed to Death

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 26, 2018

Join me on my virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Trimmed to Death, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Please leave comments at each site to support my hosts.

September 25 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW & EXCERPT

September 27 – Dru’s Book Musings – GUEST POST “Get to Know Marla Vail”

September 27 – Open Book Society – REVIEW

October 1 – The Big Thrill – SPOTLIGHT & AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 2 – Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers – GUEST POST “Food Fiction”

October 3 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

October 4 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

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September 26 – October 5 – Great Escapes Blog Tour 

September 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST “Farm Festivals”

September 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 27 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

September 29 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST “Tree of Life”

September 29 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

September 30 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 30 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST “Reality into Fiction”

October 1 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 –Laura’s Interests – REVIEW 

October 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 

October 2 – Mysteries with Character  – “Beyond the Story of Trimmed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen” 

October 3 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

October 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 4 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT & EXCERPT

October 5 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

October 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

IN PERSON EVENTS

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Multi-Author Booksigning, Helen B. Hoffman Plantation Library 50th Anniversary Celebration, 501 N Fig Tree Lane, Plantation, Florida 33317, Phone: 954-797-2140. http://www.plantation.org/Library/ Attending Authors include Barbara Fox, Bob Brink, Christopher Bigney, Dawn Davies, Dora Vilk-Shapiro, Glen Ogden, Harriet Ottenheimer, KB Schaller, Laura Burke, Lauren Doyle Owens, Marlo Bromfield, Michal Sherring, Nancy J. Cohen, Neil Plakcy, Ray Flynt.

Library Signing

Saturday, Nov. 10, 6:00 pm, Booksigning & Discussion with Nancy J. Cohen and Diane A.S. Stuckart at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444. Phone: 561-279-7790. http://murderonthebeach.com

GIVEAWAY
Enter Here Sept. 26 – Oct. 12 to win a Fall Festival Gift Basket! Contents include a signed print copy of Haunted Hair Nights and Hair Brained and other autumn-themed goodies! Physical prize for U.S. Resident only. Ebooks for international winner.

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Posted in Appearances, Book Reviews, Business of Writing, Marketing, New Release, Reviews, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 24 Comments »

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention – Saturday

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 17, 2018

On Saturday, I attended “It Takes a Village to Publish a Book” with various panelists at Bouchercon World Mystery Convention talking about what happens behind the scenes before a book gets published in terms of cover design, getting reviews, etc. It’s not something that can happen overnight with a traditional publisher. This is why it may take a year for your book to go from sale to publication.

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The next panel I attended was on Podcasts. This seemed to be more about producing your own podcast than how to get on one as a guest. It was interesting to hear why each podcast producer got started in the field and what their goals are for their audiences.

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The rest of the time I spent schmoozing with my fellow authors, hanging out in the bookroom, or pacing the corridors of the historic hotel. It was pleasing to meet fans and librarians as well as new writer friends, such as Marilyn Levinson, Neil Plakcy, and Diane A.S. Stuckart. Here’s Deborah Shlian with Joan Cochran and Diane Capri. Then we have Joanne Sinchuk and Sue Wilder from Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore. This last person in the photo wins the award for most unusual hairstyle.

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On our way home on Sunday, we stopped by Parkesdale Market in Plant City to buy loaves of their infamous strawberry bread plus other goodies. This is a fun stop along I-4 between Orlando and Tampa.

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See all my photos HERE.

GIVEAWAYS

Sept. 1 – 18 Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway
Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card at Booklover’s Bench.

GiftCards

Sept. 17 – 26 Women Sleuths on Booksweeps

Enter Sept. 17 – 26 to win 30+ Women Sleuth Mysteries, including books from authors like Lisa Gardner and Laura Durham, along with FREE reads just for entering. You could also win a copy of MY book, Hair Brained. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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Posted in Appearances, Conferences, Fiction Writing, Florida Musings, Food, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention – Friday

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 15, 2018

Friday morning was the Sisters in Crime breakfast at Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. This is always a fun event where we learn what SinC is doing and how we can participate. Here I am with friends R.V. Reyes, Rick Wymer, Mary Lou Benvenutto, Harriet Ottenheimer, and Deborah Shlian, among others.

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Later, I attended a panel on Audiobooks, and it was interesting to hear the viewpoints of the panelists who were authors, narrators, and producers. I wished they’d discussed marketing for indie authors, but it wasn’t a topic brought up.

Then there was lunch with Lisa Scottoline who gave an inspiring and witty talk. Seated at my table were Olive Pollak and Suzanne Baginskie.

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Friday night was the most fun of all. Florida Chapter of MWA held a party for all its members in the area, and we had a great time reconnecting with friends and meeting some new people. The chapter Board did a great job organizing this event. Too many members to mention here, but you can check out our chapter at https://mwaflorida.org/

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See all my photos HERE. Coming next: Bouchercon Day 3

Sept. 1 – 18 Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway

GiftCards

Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card at Booklover’s Bench.

Posted in Appearances, Business of Writing, Conferences, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention – Thursday

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 14, 2018

I started off at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention speaking on “The Business is Cozy” panel on Thursday morning. Fellow panelists were Cheryl Hollon, R.V. Reyes, and Jane Cleland with Emily Giglierano moderating. We had good attendance and numerous questions during the Q&A session.

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Earlier I had attended a panel on writing suspense. Don Bruns moderated. Here is a rundown of points learned:

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· The best suspense comes from character rather than action

· The “What’s Next?” question creates suspense. As writers, how do we delay this answer while drawing readers in?

· You have to include suspense in the first paragraph of your story. Raise questions for the reader right away.

· You draw readers in with your first question. You bring readers back with your last question.

· Don’t follow other people’s rules. What works best for them might not apply to you.

After lunch, I sat in on “Make ‘Em Laugh – Writing Humor.” The panelists discussed how murder isn’t funny, but characters can be. It’s their quirks and the situations they find themselves in that provide mirth.

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Of course, schmoozing is the real work at a conference. You go to see and be seen and to make new friends. In these photos, excluding me, from left to right: Cheryl Hollon, Victoria Landis, Rick Wymer, Mary Lou Benvenutto, Marlene Stringer, and Marty Ambrose. See all my photos HERE. Coming Next: Day 2 at Bouchercon

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Sept. 1 – 18 Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway

GiftCards

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

 

Posted in Appearances, Business of Writing, Conferences, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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: , , , | 10 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 »

Taking a Hiatus

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 27, 2018

I may be taking a hiatus from this site for the next few months out of necessity. First, I’ve received my blog schedule for Trimmed to Death. This will be a Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour from Sept. 26 – Oct. 5. I am busy writing all the guest posts and interviews for this online tour as well as some other guest spots coming up around my release dates. You can follow my appearances at https://nancyjcohen.com/appearances/

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Bouchercon 2018 mystery writers’ conference runs Sept. 6 – 9 in St. Petersburg. This involves more prep time. Also in September, I have a second bridal shower, several family birthdays, my new book release, and the Jewish holidays.

And then there’s the wedding. Recently I accompanied our daughter to the bridal salon where she had a fitting. Her dress is even more beautiful than I remember. We saw her new house, celebrated our son’s birthday, and met our prospective in-laws for a meal. Now we are home and excited about the bridal shower I’m hosting a week from tomorrow. This involves centerpieces, a cake, party favors, coordinating the menu, and having company for the weekend.

Then October is wedding month. After that is the rush toward Thanksgiving, my next book release, and the end of year holidays. Yikes! My heart races at the thought of it all. Meanwhile, our house needs attention, and I haven’t even started on our get-rid-of list.

Am I writing anything new? Not at the moment. Who has time? I’m working on blogs and marketing for these upcoming releases. I hope you’ll help get the word out once I announce the debuts. Save these dates:

August 8 is Hair Brained Large Print edition

Sept. 25 is Trimmed to Death, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries

Nov. 12 is Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition

As things get more hectic, I suspect I’ll be lurking more than posting on social media. You may hear from me if something special happens or if I get an idea for a brilliant post, but otherwise things might be sparse here for a while as I’m occupied elsewhere.

And let me not neglect to thank you for your ongoing support, loyalty, and encouragement. It means a great deal to me. Enjoy the rest of summer!

 

Posted in Appearances, Marketing, That's Life, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Having Too Many Story Ideas

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 9, 2018

Writer’s Block is often interpreted to mean that a writer stumbles over what to write next. Or he comes to a complete halt due to outside distractions or loss of confidence. But what about when he has so many ideas, that he can’t complete a single one? This can be conceived as another type of writer’s block.

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“I have too many ideas at once, and I don’t know which one to pick,” an aspiring author wrote to me. “What is your advice on this issue?”

It’s great if you have lots of story ideas. It’s not so good if you allow them to distract you until you can’t write anything. Or maybe you’ll write a bit on each one but never finish a single novel. My suggestion would be to pick the one idea that excites you the most and keep writing until you finish the first draft. Yes, it’s that simple.

“You’ve had two series going on together. How did you manage it, both mentally and during the actual writing? Was it difficult going back and forth? Is it easier to finish one at a time?”

I can only work on one project at a time. Even when I was writing two series in different genres, I would focus on one book until it was finished and in the hands of my editor. When that book was completely done, I would turn to the next project.

What happens when you have so many ideas that they interfere with your concentration? Write them down. Keep a “New Idea” file or a “Plotting” file and jot down your notes. Then put them aside until you finish your current project.

Set yourself daily and weekly writing goals for your story of choice. Then sit your butt in the chair and drive yourself each day until you meet your quota. Do not stop if one of those tempting ideas entices you. Concentrate on the book at hand. Later on, those ideas will either be viable or not. You’ll know better when you gain some perspective. For now, you have one project only that you need to finish. To reiterate:

· Pick your project.

· Set your writing goals.

· Write down all the distracting ideas in your head and set them aside.

· Begin on your daily writing quota.

· Keep writing until you finish the first draft.

Next come revisions, and that’s another topic we’ve already addressed here. Your book isn’t done until it’s done. Edited, Revised, Polished, and Submitted.

Then and only then, you may turn to your list of potential new projects. If you’re writing a series, you will need to begin the next installment. If not, listen to your heart and determine which idea is calling to you. Your passion will shine through in your words. Have some ideas that don’t resonate anymore? Scratch them off the list. You want to be excited enough that the buoyancy will sustain you throughout an entire novel. One idea at a time. One day at a time. One page at a time.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench.

 

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

 
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