Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

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    Facials Can Be Fatal

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

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    Haunted Hair Nights

    Cozy Mystery Novella

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    Writing the Cozy Mystery

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Posts Tagged ‘cozy mysteries’

Book Giveaways

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 28, 2017

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

(2) Grand Prize “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(40) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

cozy mystery giveaway

 

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).

Tropical Treats

 

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

gift cards

 

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Cover Reveal: Facials Can Be Fatal

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 9, 2016

FacialsCanBeFatalFront

Facials can be Fatal (Bad Hair Day Mystery #13) by Nancy J. Cohen
Release Date: February 22, 2017
Publisher: Five Star
ISBN-13: 9781432832827
ISBN-10: 1432832824
Hardcover Price: $25.95

Pre-Order Now

During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, had been a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a nonprofit historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans.

Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. Although Val had been well liked by most people, she may have stumbled onto secrets that others would kill to keep. As more bodies pile up, Marla races to uncover the clues. What are the connections between a greedy land developer, a dress designer whose husband may have links to the Asian mob, a mortician who might be involved in the human hair trade, and members of the nonprofit group’s board of directors? Are the latter as dedicated to their cause as they’d like Marla to believe, or do they have their own self-interests at heart?

Sparks are sure to fly when this smart stylist joins forces with her sexy detective husband to solve a decades-old mystery that includes a secret journal, pirate tales, and shipwrecks along the Florida coast. With the rollercoaster excitement, you might need a trip to the day spa to relax. But beware of body treatments that have nothing to do with herbal scrubs and hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

“Take a twisty mystery, and add a cast of amiable characters, a dash of family drama, and a pinch of South Florida during the holiday season—they all add up to the recipe for a delightful cozy!” —Lucy Burdette, bestselling author of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries

Amazon  BN

Limited Time Offer: 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 bonus files full of recipes and craft project ideas for no extra cost. Offer ends Sept. 11 http://amzn.to/2cleJ8r

Follow me on our HH Blog Tour here. Leave a comment to win an ebook copy of PERMED TO DEATH.
September 9 – “A Story for Halloween” at
Brooke Blogs
September 11 – “Haunted House” at
Shelley’s Book Case

Giveaways
Happy Homicides—Ends Sept. 11 Enter to win a tote full of goodies for a fun fall afternoon
http://bit.ly/2b7Cm3I

Cozy Mystery Giveaway—Ends Sept. 11 Enter to win up to 38 cozy mysteries, including a digital copy of Permed to Death http://authorsxp.com/giveaway

Booklovers Bench—Ends Sept. 18 Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

 

 

 

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Mystery Author Christa Nardi

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 20, 2016

Let’s welcome Christa Nardi, author of the Cold Creek cozy mystery series.

 

Why did you choose to write in the mystery genre?

As a reader, I’ve always loved mysteries. I am a big fan of cozy mysteries in particular, although I do like romantic suspense as well.

Tell us about your story and the setting.

The Cold Creek series is set in a fictitious small town in Virginia, centered around a private four-year college. For Murder in the Theater, the murder takes place in a nearby small town, Altavista, at a community theater. The victim is the Director of the holiday production of “A Christmas Carol” and his personality is reminiscent of Scrooge. There are many possible characters with motive, but Sheridan (protagonist) has vested interests in proving the accused innocent.

What are the traits of your main character?

Sheridan Hendley (protagonist) is a smart, independent female character; she is educated, middle-aged, and divorced. She’s a professor and a psychologist – she looks at problems very analytically. In the first book of the series, she is told to help the detective assigned to the murder of her colleague. Her natural curiosity, and her ability to draw connections between people set the stage for her amateur sleuthing. 

Did you do any special research for this book?

Yes, I did. I investigated Virginia Hate Crime laws, the mechanics of a blow out, and distance/time information. I also researched the history of community theaters. Probably the most interesting was the information on hate crimes and finding out that the laws (what constitutes a hate crime) varies by state.

What do you like best about a writing career? The least?

I enjoy coming up with ideas and having the freedom to put those ideas together however I please, change them around, and see what comes out. I can write in my pajamas or all dressed up. In many ways I find writing relaxing and exciting. The downside? The times when the story’s not quite coming together.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

More pantser than plotter. I start off with a basic idea of the plot, write some scenes that go with my initial idea, and go from there. When I get stuck or something doesn’t seem to work, I backtrack and create a plot line from what I have – sometimes throwing out parts or rewriting – to figure out the next steps. The fun part is that when I start writing, I know who gets killed, I have an idea of the motive, but I haven’t decided who did the deed yet.

Do you set a daily schedule or wing it?

I work full-time so my writing schedule varies. I have established specific times when I can write for about 2-3 hours without interruption over the weekend, but otherwise I wing it. On the positive side, when I’ve put down the work for a while, it forces me to start reading from the beginning again. Sometimes that provides momentum and direction (or re-direction) for the story.

What do you plan to write next?

I plan to work on Book 5 of this series starting this fall. I only have a vague idea right now where that one will go. I am working on a new series right now, also mystery, but young adult. We’ll see how that works out.

Do you have any special interests outside of writing?

Reading? I read constantly – usually mystery or romance. I also enjoy dance and theater, though I am not talented in either. I love to travel, most recently to Barcelona.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write, write, and write. There are many author groups locally or regionally with workshops and most are very supportive. Be prepared to throw out whole parts and start over. Get lots of feedback. Then write some more.

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Murder in the Theater

Murder-in-the-Theater2 (5)The drama program has never been so dramatic.

It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call?

Cold Creek Series Book 4, Murder in the Theater by Christa Nardi, is another great cozy mystery.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

 

 

 

 

Books in the Cold Creek Series


MURDER AT COLD CREEK COLLEGE
MURDER IN THE ARBORETUM
MURDER AT THE GRILL
MURDER IN THE THEATER

For more information on the Cold Creek Series:
http://christanardi.blogspot.com/p/cold-creek-series.html
https://www.facebook.com/ColdCreekSeries/?ref=aymt_homepage_pane

 

 

Meet Christa Nardi

ChristaHeadshot1Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance are her preferred choices for leisure reading.

Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast.

Stay in touch with Christa:

https://www.facebook.com/christa.nardi.5
https://twitter.com/ChristaN7777
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00G8SBCKK
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257539.Christa_Nardi

 

 

CONTEST ALERT!

Enter Christa’s giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Murder in the Theater. Click Here to Enter

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Posted in Author Interviews, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Cover Reveal: Happy Homicides 4

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 8, 2016

Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime — A bountiful harvest of cozy mysteries, plus a special bonus file of recipes and craft tips. Release date: August 29.

 

HH4 LowRes


TWO-for-One Alert: Buy Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime and get Happy Homicides 4: Fall into 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 absolutely free. This limited offer will be good from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4 only, so mark your calendars. Go to
http://bit.ly/fallintocrime for more details.

Story Summaries

Joanna Campbell Slan / Vendetta: A Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery – The House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar is known for its 150-year history as a way station for shipwrecked sailors. But when Cara Mia visits, the museum becomes the scene of a crime.

Linda Gordon Hengerer / Dying for School Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella – Chelsea Powell and her sisters are providing treats for Citrus Beach High School’s freshman orientation. Can they solve the murder of the beloved softball coach before someone else dies?

Carole W. Price / The Glass Birdhouse – Glass artist Bella hopes to find clues about her student’s death in the woman’s unfinished glass birdhouse.

Lesley A. Diehl / Bobbing for Murder – A visit from Darcie’s family is always chaotic, and this time the relatives bamboozle Darcie into having a Halloween party. It’s a decision that definitely comes back to haunt her.

Nancy Jill Thames / Raven House – When a reporter is murdered after a fundraiser at the historic Raven House, the police call on Jillian and her Yorkie Teddy to help them investigate.

Teresa Trent / Falling for Murder – Helpful hints columnist Betsy Livingston is an expert at household organization but her skills are put to the test when she’s called upon to conduct an efficiency review for a haunted house.

Maggie Toussaint / Dead Men Tell Tales – In this third installment of the Lindsey & Ike romantic mystery novella series, things don’t add up after a suspicious hunting accident. The more Sheriff Ike Harper and newspaper editor Lindsey McKay dig, the more questions they find.

Anna Celeste Burke / All Hallow’s Eve Heist – Date night for Georgie Shaw and handsome detective Jack Wheeler goes terribly wrong. A botched heist at Marvelous Marley World has everyone scrambling as trigger-happy bad guys head for the Halloween celebration in Arcadia Park.

Randy Rawls / Accident, Suicide, or Murder – Retired policeman Jonathan Boykin’s primary interest is improving his golf, but a grieving father’s request to investigate his son’s suspicious death is an entirely different ballgame.

Nancy J. Cohen / Haunted Hair Nights – As a new stepmother, hairstylist Marla Vail hopes to win brownie points by helping her daughter with a school haunted house project. Marla has her work cut out for her when she stumbles over a corpse on the spooky estate grounds.

Terry Ambrose / Spirit in the Rock – An invitation to a museum’s grand opening turns into a showdown with the spirit world for amateur sleuth Wilson McKenna.

Deborah Sharp / Haunting in Himmarshee – When a ghost comes to call, Mace must sort out the haunted from the homicidal in Himmarshee, Florida.

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Rafflecopter Contest Starts Today! Go here to see what you can win: http://nancyjcohen.com/contest/  Or Enter Here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/35d3fb0235/

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Save Our Cozies Readathon

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 16, 2016

Fans of cozy mysteries set up a cry of outrage when Penguin Random House/Berkeley/NAL announced the cancellation of many favorite mystery series. Over two dozen authors took the hit. At the same time, Five Star declared the end of its entire mystery line as of March 2017. Yep, that includes Yours Truly. My last book with Five Star will be Facials Can Be Fatal on Feb. 22, 2017. Like many of my writerly sisters and brothers, I will be orphaned after that release. But don’t worry; I am already in the final proofreading stages for the sequel, Hair Brained.

The Save Our Cozies Readathon was created to make others aware of the situation and to celebrate the cozy mystery genre. Prize drawings for participants! I’ve donated a signed copy of Shear Murder and two Permed to Death ebooks.

To join this 24-hour event TODAY ONLY, go here: https://saveourcoziesreadathon.wordpress.com/
Save Our Cozies Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/726103940858234/
Save Our Cozies Goodreads Group: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18072693-save-our-cozies

Readers of this lighthearted mystery genre are still out there. Other publishers are taking up the slack, picking up authors looking for new homes. Many authors are making the decision to go indie. Depending upon an individual author’s contract, he or she may not be able to self-publish or take the series to a new publisher. But no matter where an author falls on the indie versus small press versus big publisher scale, we all need your support. We need you to buy cozy mysteries, request new titles at your libraries, and review them online. Join us today at the Readathon and have fun!

Giveaways and Bargains!

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer Cozy Mystery Giveaway

Enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries PLUS a Kindle Fire! You can win my novel Permed to Death, plus books from many more of your favorite authors.
Click Here to Enter
Cozy Contest

July 1-31
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

 

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

Recent Mystery Reads

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 15, 2016

These are some cozies I’ve enjoyed reading in the past month or two. I hope you’ll share some titles in the comments, too!

Flourless to Stop Him by Nancy J. Parra (Mystery)

This installment in the “A Baker’s Treat” mystery series has Toni Holmes whipping up gluten-free holiday treats in her bakery despite December blizzards and a murderer who’s left her brother framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Unable to avoid her sisterly duty in clearing his name, she sets on the trail of a killer who may be someone closer to her than she realizes. Stonewalled by the police who refuse to look further for the culprit, she conducts her own investigation while fending off a couple of potential suitors. This amusing, quick-paced mystery will have your mouth watering for bakery treats while you consume the pages to finish the story. 


Pane and Suffering
by Cheryl Hollon (Mystery)

When Savannah’s father dies, she takes over his stained glass art studio, hoping to turn management over to his right-hand man. But when Hugh keels over next, she realizes something is amiss. Her father, who’d worked for the government prior to retirement, leaves clues for her to follow. She uses her geocache experience and code-breaking skills to track the killer. Can she trust the handsome bar owner who works next-door? What about the students in her stained glass class? A rival shop owner? Or a real estate developer who covets the property? Suspects abound in this charming debut title in the Webb’s Glass Shop mystery series. Interesting tidbits about the artisan craft add detail to this story.


The Conspiring Woman by Kate Parker (Historical Mystery)

The Victorian Bookshop Mysteries featuring bookstore owner Georgia Fenchurch continue to delight. In this installment, Georgia’s association with the Archivist Society brings her into contact with Sir Edward Hale, whose dead wife is found by the waterfront and whose son is missing. While Hale was estranged from his wife, he wasn’t the only one with a motive for murder. Georgia’s investigation takes her from the aristocracy to a group of ladies whose mysterious network might have contributed to the victim’s death. And when the handsome Duke of Blackford returns from his overseas trip, Georgia has a lot more to cause her concern. He wants to talk to her in private, and her heart beats fast at what that might mean. Another trip into Victorian London will hopefully continue this charming series.

 

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal (Historical Mystery)

When Maggie Hope accompanies Winston Churchill to Washington D.C. right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, she doesn’t expect to become embroiled in a case involving civil rights, intrigue, and murder. Yet Maggie is unable to stay out of trouble even as she juggles a couple of suitors. She meets Mrs. Roosevelt, who commandeers her to help prevent a scandal involving the First Family. It’s entertaining to see Maggie on this side of the “pond” and to view her English colleagues’ reactions to American culture. Enhanced by historical detail, this engrossing mystery will have you deep into post-Pearl Harbor politics and intrigue as Churchill and Roosevelt attempt to cement an alliance between their countries to battle a fearsome foe. Another Winner!


Giveaways and Bargains!

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

July 11-Aug 8
Enter to win over 40 cozy mysteries and a Kindle Fire. You can win my novel Permed to Death, plus books from many more of your favorite authors. Click Here to Enter

Cozy Contest

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) ebook is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use 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

 

 

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Win a Kindle Fire

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 11, 2016

29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway July 11 – Aug. 8

I’ve teamed up with more than 40 cozy mystery authors to give away a huge collection of cozies, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner! You can win my novel Permed to Death, plus books from many more of your favorite authors. Enter Here:
https://www.booksweeps.com/29-days-summer-cozy-mystery-giveaway

Cozy Mystery Contest

July 1 – 18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Do Now
Sign up for my Newsletter now so you don’t miss the next issue coming tomorrow! http://nancyjcohen.com/newsletter/

 

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Malice Domestic 27

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 12, 2015

Malice Domestic is one of my favorite conferences. What’s not to like? Friendly people, avid readers, cozy mystery fans, and mystery/suspense writers all gathered together in one place to talk about reading and writing. Malice-Go-Round begins Friday morning, if you’re lucky as an author to win the lottery for a place at this popular event. It’s intense, with 2 minutes per author per table to give your pitch and hand out your promo items. You team up with another author, and every 4 minutes you hop to the next table for a total of 20 tables. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet readers who are interested in what you have to say before your voice gives out.

Friday night was free, so we went to Jaleo in Bethesda to try the tapas restaurant for dinner. The food was delicious and the ambiance lively. Upon our return, I sauntered downstairs to the author auction and dessert party. Here I am with author Maggie Toussaint.

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Saturday morning was the Sisters in Crime breakfast which is always a pleasure. Then starting at 9am, I was on the panel, “Fifty Shades of Oy Vey: Religious Elements in Mystery.” Rabbi Ilene Schneider moderated. Fellow panelists were Anne Cleeland, Mindy Quigley, and Stephanie Jaye Evans. We had a filled audience and had a great time hearing what each other had to say on this important (and often entertaining) topic.

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When not speaking on a panel or sitting in on one, I hung out with my writing buddies. I met new friends and schmoozed with writer pals I hadn’t seen in a while. Members of our Florida MWA chapter were represented by myself, Neil Plakcy, Alyssa Maxwell, Lucy Burdette, and Elaine Viets. I chatted with the always stylish Ellen Byerrum and met Ellen Byron (close in name but not the same) as well as a number of other authors I’d brushed paths with online. I could drop lots of names here, but invariably I’d leave someone out. Below left, I’m with Ellen Byerrum. On the right is Marilyn Levinson.

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Here I am with Alyssa Maxwell on the left and Neil Plakcy on the right.

Saturday night ended with the glitzy Agatha Awards Banquet where the lovely Hank Phillippi Ryan won for Best Contemporary Novel. Most remarkable was the dessert, chocolate mousse inside a chocolate teacup.

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The feasting wasn’t finished yet. On Sunday was a delightful tea party to conclude the conference. Balloons decorated the ballroom where we gathered to sip tea and eat sandwiches, scones, and other goodies. It was another successful Malice Domestic conference at the Hyatt Bethesda. There I am with author Maddy Hunter.

P1040644  P1040640

See all the photos here (and Like the page while there): https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor

Contest Alert!

Enter my May Madness contest May 7– 21 to win a signed copy of bestselling author Joanna Campbell Slan’s historical mystery, Death of a Dowager, and a $15 FANDANGO gift card to enjoy a movie this summer. Two runners-up will each win an ebook copy of Hair Raiser (Bad Hair Day Mystery #2). http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/

Enter May 4-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench http://bookloversbench.com/contest/ Check out our other features, including a weekly giveaway, while you’re there.

 

Posted in Appearances, Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 11 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

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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 »

My Review of Nancy J. Cohen’s “Writing the Cozy Mystery”

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 5, 2014

Thanks to DL Fernandez for his great review of my instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery.

ByDLFernandez

Writing the Cozy Mystery Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J Cohen

In the market for a new, great How-To book on writing? Well, look no further. I keep my eye out for these because they tend to be a wealth of knowledge and experience, packed with interesting ideas and exercises. And I’ve found one that I recommend highly. It’s a quick, efficient read that’ll definitely get your story-brain working.

I’ve been a fan of mysteries for a very long time, from the classics concocted by Conan Doyle, Chandler, and Christie, to modern doozies from the likes of Lehane. Well into my thirties at this point, one of my favorite novels is still a middle-grade cozy puzzle mystery I read in elementary school, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Even as a middle school literature teacher these days, I read that novel with my 6th graders as part of a larger unit…

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