I discovered I’m not the only person who grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. I got hooked when visiting my grandmother’s house. I found my mother’s Nancy Drew books. She only had a couple, so after that I saved my money to buy my own copies.
Last weekend I discovered a treasure trove for Nancy Drew fans. In Savannah, I was visiting antique stores. There was a young couple I kept bumping into. We ended up at Books on Bay at the same time. She was organized and had a list of exactly what she needed. Books on Bay had every book she needed.
I also found a book to add to my collection.
I learned there were book club copies in addition to books sold at stores. If the back of a Nancy Drew book is solid yellow, it’s a book club edition.
There’s also some fun lingo. For instance, bird means man. Cheaters means sunglasses. Derrick means shoplifter. Scatter means hideout. And clubhouse means police station.
Another thing I learned while visiting Books on Bay, the picture cover illustrations were painted by artists. Russell H. Tandy was one of the artists.
Did you read mysteries when you were growing up? If you collected Nancy Drew books or other books and need to complete your collection, I’d recommend contacting Books on Bay. You can find them at http://www.booksonbay.com . Better yet, stop by for a visit at 224 W. Bay Street in Savannah. (I don’t get any kickbacks, but I found the place and owners to be charming.)
What were some of your favorite books to read as a child?
Have you ever kept running into the same person? In 2020 Georgiana Daniels and I kept showing up in the same groups. It didn’t take long to discover we had a lot in common. So I was delighted when she agreed to join us today. I’m even more excited to share that she has a book releasing this month.
Hi, Jackie! Thank you for hosting me today. I’m really excited about Crumbs of Passion, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book. Is it wrong to crack yourself up with your own work? Asking for a friend….
Great! I’m going on the assumption the sleuth is a baker, but if that’s wrong, what does your sleuth do?
KC Crumb is returning home after losing her job as a corporate social media manager for a shoe company. Of course, her Aunt Lulu ropes her into working at Crumb’s Bakery as soon as possible. If only KC could quit sampling the goods!
Where is the setting? How did you decide to pick it?
Crumbs of Passion takes place in fictional Beaver Bluff, Oregon. It’s a cozy town on the coast, and it was relatively quiet—until KC moved back and found a dead body in the garage of her new rental! It was easy to pick a coastal town because I love the water. Living in AZ, I don’t get to the ocean nearly enough.
How long have you been writing?
Writing was always something I would do “one day.” About 16 years ago when our middle daughter was born, I decided to go ahead and get serious. For some reason I thought the path would be pretty straightforward. The joke was totally on me! But, it’s been a great ride and I’ve met some of my closest friends along the way. Crumbs of Passion is my fourth published book, and the plan is to release books 2, Crumb and Punishment, and book 3, A Crummy Way to Die, later this year.
I completely understand the dream of writing “one day.” Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author?
Let me answer with a resounding YES! I have always wanted to write, but instead of doing that straight out of the gate, I spent eight years in retail management and two years as an investment advisor. (I guess you could say I have diverse interests!)
But wait, there’s more! Right now, I’m in grad school to get a master’s degree in library and information science. I work part-time as a librarian, and the goal is to get a full-time position after my youngest graduates high school.
Do you enjoy baking? What are your hobbies?
Wait…we’re supposed to have time for hobbies? Haha, just kidding…mostly.
Because I write, work part time, do graduate school, and homeschool our high-school daughters, I don’t have a lot of time left over. When I do, I mostly read. The goal is to read 100 books in a year. So far, the most I’ve read in a year is (I think) 72. Also, I adore knitting, and my newest love is playing the piano. Not that I’m good at that, mind you. I believe I have about three or four half-learned songs in my repertoire.
As for the baking, I leave that to my kids who still live at home. Our middle daughter bakes cakes that are to die for, including specialty items like baklava cheesecake. I’m totally spoiled!
Baklava cheesecake? I’m craving it now.
Do you have a favorite character? If you could spend a day with this person, what would you enjoy doing?
Naturally I want to pick KC as my favorite! She’s a little sneaky and she can wield a stiletto like nobody’s business. Like KC, exercising is not my favorite thing to do (even though it’s always on my to-do list) so we’d probably hit the ice cream shop and hang out in Beaver Bluff’s town square, catching a little sunshine.
Also, I can’t leave out our pal Verity. I know, I know—I’m totally cheating by picking two! But she’s pretty neat in her own right as a jiu-jitsu expert/librarian, plus she’s KC’s sidekick and self-appointed new best friend. In fact, I wrote a prequel short story to Crumbs of Passion and featured Verity because she’s that cool. If we spent the day together, she’d want to teach me some slick self-defense moves, but I’d probably break my neck. I’d talk her into hitting the bookshops with me!
Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot?
Ahhh, lovely question! The beach in Cancun was so relaxing and I would love another visit. Also, the beach in St. Lucia was amazing! I’m all about the surf and sand. However, the next big vacation will probably be back to Alaska to visit family. Going there never gets old!
Is there a place you’ve always longed to visit?
SO many places, and I want to see them all! Mostly I want to take a big trip to the British Isles. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to them, but I’ve never made it there. Reading eight million cozies that take place there is whetting my appetite for travel.
How did you decide on a social media manager for your sleuth?
Great question, and I’m really trying to remember how I came up with her job as a social media manager. Really, KC’s character grew so organically over time that I can’t pinpoint when I made that decision. The fun thing is, she uses her social media prowess to find the killer!
Do you have a pet? What about a pet in your book?
We do! She’s a beautiful and somewhat aloof Siamese cat named Meekö. Yes, she has an umlaut in her name—our youngest daughter insisted, for reasons known only to her. (She cracks me up! My daughter, not Meekö.)
In Crumbs, we’re introduced to a killer canine named Pooh Bear. He likes scaring people, eating pizza, and riding shotgun.
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jackie! It’s been fun hanging out together. People can also hang out with me on Facebook and Twitter. And watch for Crumbs of Passion, coming out on March 19!
It’s been so fun getting to know you better. Thanks for spending some time with us. Please share your blurb with us.
What do you get when you cross a jilted ex, a dead body, and a killer canine named Pooh Bear?
When social media manager KC Crumb is fired from her bougie job in L.A., she returns home to Beaver Bluff, Oregon only to discover a dead body in her new rental. Unfortunately, the body belongs to her philandering ex-boyfriend—a man she publicly threatened before she left town 15 years ago. Now all eyes are on KC, including those of hunky officer Antonio Hamson.
With the help of her new best friend, who happens to be a jiu-jitsu expert/librarian, and a gaggle of gung-ho ladies from her aunt’s bakery, KC and Pooh Bear set out to track down the real killer. Half the town is under suspicion, including a shady car salesman and a preening personal trainer, causing the clues to mount faster than the followers on her newly single social media profiles. And when her life is mysteriously threatened, KC has to sniff out the murderer…before the handsome officer hauls her in for homicide.
Today’s my birthday, and this is a big one. I turn sixty today, and I’ve been feeling old. I told my husband I just wanted to ignore it and treat today like any other day. My thought was turning sixyt-one might be easier.
I’ve never really worried about turning a specific age before. I do remember turning thirty, and BOTH my mom and brother said they weren’t sure how they felt about ME turning thirty. Haha!
Last week it came to my attention Amy Grant turned sixty in November. I also learned Robin Robers and George Stephanopoulous just turned sixty too. So, I decided to do a little search for others my age.
Did you know Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, and Antonio Banderas turned sixty last year? What about women? Valerie Bertinelli, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Gray are a few to note.
Next I looked at who was born in 1961. Woody Harrelson wasn’t a surprise because I met in my freshman year at Hanover College. Meg Ryan, Toby Keith, Nadia Comaneci, Wayne Gretzky, and George Clooney.
None of these people seem old, so I’m going to take a big breath and slowly exhale. I can handle turning sixty with grace.
Thanks for letting me ramble. I’d love to hear if you ever struggled with a birthday.
Leah began the Cozy Ink Podcast as a platform to connect cozy mystery readers cozy authors. She has introduced new books to readers, held an online conference, and read short stories.
Stephanie Graves, Carlene O’Connor, Nancy Coco, Lynn Cahoon and many more authors have been on Cozy Ink Podcast. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you don’t want to miss Leah’s podcast. Here’s the link: https://cozyink.buzzsprout.com/
I met J. C. Kenney at Malice Domestic in May 2019. Dawn Dowdle is our agent, and J. C. spoke at the new author breakfast. This was before COVID was a thought, and he always had a smile on his face. I’m such an introvert, his ease with others impressed me. J. C. agreed to join us today.
Welcome, J. C., thanks for joining us.
Hi, Jackie! It’s a thrill to be visiting with you today to chat about A Deadly Discovery.
Where is the setting? How did you decide to pick it? A Deadly Discovery is the fourth book in my Allie Cobb Mysteries series. It’s set in the fictional southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek. It’s based on the real town of Nashville, which was established in the mid-1800’s as an artists’ colony. For decades, it’s been a quaint community and a tourist community. I live an hour north of Nashville, Indiana and visit often. I think it’s an ideal place to serve as the model for a cozy mystery community.
How long have you been writing? I started writing regularly in 2011. For years, I’d wanted to write a book, but had never come up with an idea that kept me going beyond the first few pages. It all changed in August 2011 when an idea popped into my head and wouldn’t let go. A Deadly Discovery is the eleventh book I’ve had published. It’s been a crazy ride!
Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author? Writing has always been a big part of my day job career, even though that’s been more on the technical end. For example, for my current day job I’m in charge of my company’s policies and procedures. While that’s a quite different discipline from creative fiction writing, I think technical writing has helped me with things like clarity, grammar, and conciseness.
What are your hobbies? Reading’s my number one hobby. All my life, I’ve loved to read. I stick mostly to fiction for the escape from reality.
Do you have a favorite character? If you could spend a day with this person, what would you enjoy doing? Allie’s best friend, Sloane Winchester, is probably my favorite character. She’s such a kind soul and is so upbeat. It would be a pleasure to simply hang out with her and revel in her bubbly personality.
Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot? I love the Florida Gulf Coast. It’s easy to get there from Indianapolis, whether its by plane or car. For my money, the soft, white beaches can’t be beat.
Is there a place you’ve always longed to visit? I’m of Irish heritage so someday my wife and I hope to visit Ireland. My parents vacationed there in 1979. To this day, I remember how excited they were to take that trip.
Have you been to the Indy 500? I’m a big fan of IndyCar and the 500, in particular. I attended my first race in 1977, the year A.J. Foyt won his fourth race. It was really cool to be a part of that. I’ve only missed one 500 in the last ten years. It’s a big deal in my household!
Do you have a pet? What about the cat in your book? I do! Maria is a Russian Blue cat who is also known as the Princess of the House. She’s a rescue and has been with us since February 2014, so almost seven years. She has me totally wrapped around her little kitty paw. I based Ursula, the Cat in the Allie Cobb Mysteries, on Maria. I’m a total cat guy, so it’s tons of fun including felines in my books.
A Deadly Discovery Blurb
Certain she’s seen more than enough death for one lifetime, literary agent Allie Cobb is ready to close the book on her amateur sleuthing, even when she learns that an unidentified body has been unearthed in a local state park. But when a worn and haunted-looking woman shows up on her doorstep with a grim story about her young daughter’s disappearance twenty years ago—and the police confirm that the recently discovered body is hers—Allie can’t bear to turn the poor woman away.
Determined to uncover the truth about the young woman’s murder, Allie begins delving into the circumstances of her life and those she knew so many years before. And when she meets powerful resistance from those she questions—many of whom are now trusted leaders in her small, tight-knit community—she’s sure she’s on the right track. But as she narrows down the list of suspects, Allie realizes too late that a cold-blooded killer is dead-set on keeping the secrets of the past buried, and it will take all her wit and cunning to avoid becoming the second young woman to meet an untimely end…
J. C., thanks for joining us today.
If you’d like to reach out to J. C. Kenney, you can find him in the following places.
I won’t get political here during these turbulant times. Recently I shared my goal to show more compassion to others in 2021. Martin Luther King Jr. believed the only way to change society was to show compassion to others.
When I chose compassion as my word for the year, I didn’t have him in mind. After a year of tragedies, I saw people hurting and decided we could all benefit from receiving compassion from others.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Martin Luther King Jr.
We’re still social distancing and wearing masks where I live, but my goal for today is to find one person to show kindness and compassion to today.
What about you? How will you celebrate Martin Luther King Day?
Definition of compassion according to Merriam-Webster is : sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
The Bible has many verses on compassion.
1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is well known for his compassionate nature.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ― Aesop
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
In 2020, we saw horrible events in the news. In 2021, I plan to reflect on compassion. I may not change the world, but maybe I can help one person.